Liverpool's £20 million summer signing Alberto Aquilani could make his long-awaited debut for the Anfield club before the end of October.
The Italian midfielder, signed as replacement for Xabi Alonso, who joined Real Madrid for £30 million in August, has stepped up his training as he recovers from a knee operation and may get a short run-out for the reserves against Sunderland next Wednesday as part of his rehabilitation.
The 25-year-old started ball work with the first-team squad last week and Liverpool's Carling Cup tie at Arsenal on October 28 has been pencilled in as a possible debut.
Aquilani said: "When I am back, I hope I will show I am a player who can pass the ball well, get forward and score goals. I have not played football for a long time, so I know it will not be easy to produce my best straightaway. But I will be trying to do that.
"When you are not involved with the team, it is not a good feeling. But it is my ambition to score at the Kop end. I have thought about that a lot during my rehab period."
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez signed Aquilani knowing he would not be able to play for a minimum of three months. The Italian international's last competitive game was back in March, for Roma, against Arsenal in the Champions League.