When Steven Gerrard netted direct from a free-kick against Manchester United on Saturday around 200 million Liverpool fans screamed in delight. Whilst it wasn’t quite enough to win the game for us, it represented a successful return of a Kop hero after almost six months struggling on the sidelines.

Saturday was his first start in ages, and the fact that he came through all 90 minutes of such a physical encounter should boost Stevie G’s confidence levels ahead of the Christmas run-in.

Gerrard, whilst happy to score, was even happier just to be involved. “I’m delighted to be back and able to experience the emotion of big games again. It has been a frustrating six months. I didn’t realise what I had until it was taken away from me for so long.

“It would have been the perfect day if my goal had been the winner but it wasn’t to be. I don’t know whether frustration is the right word but the lads were a little bit disappointed we didn’t hang on after we took the lead.

Now that Gerrard is back in the thick of it, he can also see that the team is much stronger than previous years.

“You sum a side up by how strong your bench is. If you look at our bench against United, we had Craig Bellamy, Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson – that goes to show how much stronger we’ve got over the last couple of years.

“It is a really big positive when you know you have big subs coming on and we are really happy with how things are going at the moment.”

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