Don’t over-use comeback kid Gerrard, Fabio: Dalglish
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has urged England coach Fabio Capello to be "intelligent" when it comes to considering Steven Gerrard for international duty.
The midfielder, who Dalglish described as the club's talisman, made a welcome return to action in last night's 2-1 Carling Cup victory over Brighton.
Gerrard, 31, had been sidelined for more than six months after an operation on a groin problem in March ended his season prematurely.
He came off the bench as a 75th-minute substitute at the Amex Stadium but Dalglish said that does not mean it was now full steam ahead for the Reds captain.
England have a Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro on October 7 but Dalglish wants Gerrard to get his match sharpness up at a comfortable speed and not for him to be over-worked too early.
"I don't pick England's team. Whatever they have to do, they have to do," said the Scot when asked whether it would be a risk for Capello to name the midfielder in his squad.
"I just hope they are as intelligent as what we have been."
Dalglish has always stressed Gerrard's recovery and rehabilitation would not be rushed - despite the player's obvious desire to make a comeback.
And that approach will not change just because Gerrard has now had his first taste of action since March 6.
"We won't be any more careful, professional or intelligent than we have been," he added.
"He's done fantastic coming back and it's fantastic for the whole club that he is back but the most important person in all of it is Steven himself.
"He's missed an awful lot of football through injury so he's done brilliant to get where he is.
"We will just continue in the intelligent manner that we have done.
"We can look forward to him getting even fitter. There will be no timescale or programme, we'll just take it as it comes.
"He's the captain and the talisman of the football club and he's just played around 20 minutes for us.
"He's on his way back and we're absolutely delighted for him."
Gerrard has admitted his time on the sidelines was a "nightmare".
Having struggled through most of last season with the problem he eventually succumbed to surgery after his side's 3-1 win over Manchester United at Anfield.
He would have returned sooner this season had he not picked up an infection in late July which set him back a few more weeks but the 31-year-old is now looking to reclaim his regular spot in the first team.
"It was good to be back with the lads," he said after his brief appearance against Brighton.
"I'd been out a long time and it was fantastic to be out there in that kit again and it was nice to get a win as well.
"It's been a nightmare for me. I'm not the best when I'm out injured and watching games.
"It's been tough and the last six months have been a rollercoaster.
"But it's behind me now and I'm looking forward to getting match fit and getting back in the starting line-up."
The game at Brighton also saw Martin Kelly make a welcome return having missed two and a half matches with a hamstring injury.
Glen Johnson is still recovering from a similar problem which has restricted him to just nine minutes of competitive action - as a substitute at Stoke - while centre-back Martin Skrtel's unsuitability on the right of defence was exposed by Gareth Bale in Sunday's 4-0 defeat at Tottenham which resulted in the Slovakia international being sent off.
Skrtel's fellow central defender Daniel Agger broke a rib in that game and could be out for a month.
"There are varying lengths of time for people to get back from an injury like that," said Dalglish.
"We'll just let it heal and take it as it comes. He'll certainly not be fit for a few weeks.
"But Fabio Aurelio is back in training and Glen Johnson started light training.
"Everybody else is fit which is good for us."