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Statistical breakdown of UCL semis

Five Aside
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By ESPN Staff

Carragher backing for Gerrard

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has warned critics not to write off Steven Gerrard.

Dalglish to assess Suarez
Dalglish won't rush Gerrard return

Gerrard's return from groin surgery in March has been delayed because of an infection and he will not feature until next month at the earliest. However, Carragher has stressed no one should think the 31-year-old midfielder will start to struggle at the highest level as age catches up with him.

"There's still plenty more to come from Steven Gerrard," Carragher said. "He's one of the best, if not the best, player to play in the Premier League over the past decade.

"When Stevie is back playing it will be like we've just signed a great new player. He's still got four or five years ahead of him to play for Liverpool."

Carragher said Gerrard brought so much more to the team than just his displays on the pitch and he was keen for the England international to return as soon as possible.

"It's a great honour to lead the team out but the fact is I'd prefer not to be doing it because like everyone else I want our captain back," he told the Liverpool Echo. "I speak to Stevie all the time and he's desperate to get back involved. The quicker he is back the better.

"We missed him at the back end of last season and having him back will give everyone a massive boost. It will give a lift to the supporters and to the new players who have come in this summer.

"The new lads will have heard so much about him but they haven't had the chance to train with him yet. To get to play and train with Stevie will be great for them and I'm sure that will help their development."

Carragher also hopes January signing Luis Suarez can start the new season as he finished the last. The Uruguay international, who was instrumental in his country's Copa America win last month, returned to training on Monday after an extended break.

"I'm desperate for him to have another great season," Carragher said. "I watched him in the Copa America and he was excellent. Hopefully he can carry that form on for us.

"If he does then he will be one of the standout players in the Premier League this season. The best foreign players deliver straight away and Luis has proved he's in that top bracket."

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