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Gerrard set for early return for Liverpool

  • Story Highlights
  • Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard making good recovery from hamstring injury
  • Gerrard sidelined since FA Cup defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton
  • Liverpool challenging in both the Premier League and Champions League
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(CNN) -- Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is set to return ahead of time as his team enter a crucial phase of the season.

Gerrard limped off in the FA Cup defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton on February 4.

Gerrard limped off in the FA Cup defeat to Merseyside rivals Everton on February 4.

Gerrard limped off in the Merseyside derby FA Cup defeat to Everton on February 4 and was initially thought to be out for at least three weeks,

But his hamstring injury has responded well to treatment and he could return for Sunday's game against Manchester City.

Second-placed Liverpool face the possibility of being eight points behind Premier League leaders Manchester United by the time they face City.

United, currently two points clear with a game in hand, play Fulham on Wednesday and Blackburn on Saturday, before Liverpool are in action again.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez gave an upbeat assessment of Gerrard's current condition.

"He is improving. In these situations each day is important. He is working with the medical staff and is progressing," he told

"Normally he is a player who recovers quickly. He needs less time than other players."

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But Benitez, who is only too aware of the value of Gerrard to his team, cautioned against pushing him back too early with a Champions League last 16 match against Real Madrid looming.

"I was surprised because the Spanish press said he'd play some minutes this weekend and then play against Real Madrid, but the truth is we don't know yet," he added.

"Maybe he could be on the bench against City but we don't know.

"He wants to play every single game. He knows the game against City will be very important, and also the Real Madrid one too."

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