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By ESPN Staff

Gerrard could start against United

Kenny Dalglish says Steven Gerrard is ready to answer Liverpool's call when they welcome Manchester United to Anfield this weekend.

Liverpool head into the game viewed more as top-four contenders than genuine title rivals to the reigning Premier League champions. However, a win cuts the gap between the two sides to just three points.

The major piece of team news ahead of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off surrounds Liverpool skipper Gerrard, who is yet to start a game this season. The England midfielder has appeared off the bench against Brighton, Wolves and Everton, and is believed to be ready to take his place in the Reds' starting line-up.

Dalglish was in no mood to give away his tactics prior to Liverpool's biggest game of the season to date, but he did hint that Gerrard is ready to boost his midfield.

"We'll continue to manage it as well as we have done," Dalglish said of Gerrard. "We're not in any position to sit here and disclose our team for two days' time.

"But we're delighted with the progress he's made and the way he's been looked after, and we'll just continue to do that. When we think he's ready to play, he'll be the first to answer the call."

Gerrard has produced some important moments against United over the years, slamming a rocket past Fabian Barthez during the Gerard Houllier era, as well as scoring with a dipping volley in the 2003 League Cup final. Dalglish, though, insists his decision will be purely based on fitness.

"It's not to do with what he's done against Manchester United before," the Liverpool boss said. "We'll judge it on what he's done so far [fitness wise]. We don't look back into history to see what he's done to Manchester United."

Dalglish has been vocal against referees at times this season, and he appeared to hint it was important that the officials got things right on Saturday. Asked what it would take to beat United for a fourth time in as many years at Anfield, Dalglish was keen to ensure the outcome was determined by his players.

"Any United team is going to be good. We have to be better than them on the day, and we have to be fortunate. There's a lot of things out there we can control, but there's an awful lot of things out of our control.

"They're a fantastic team and we know it's going to be a difficult game."


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