Carragher could return against Portsmouth

September 13, 2007

Jamie Carragher could return for Premier League leaders Liverpool when they visit Portsmouth on Saturday.

The former England star has missed two games with a rib injury but manager Rafael Benitez confirmed Carragher returned to training yesterday and providing he suffers no reaction he will play at Fratton Park.

Carragher's return will be a huge boost for the Reds, who have encountered difficulty against Portsmouth in previous seasons and are looking for a win to enhance their title credentials.

'I think Jamie will be fit,' said Benitez. 'He was training yesterday and we need to check him once he has trained again to see if he can play.

'He's important to us because we don't have too many centre-backs and it is important we keep them fit.'

Benitez is also relaxed about the fitness of Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool skipper came through both England games this week despite Benitez's well-publicised concerns over his broken toe.

While the Liverpool boss has yet to see his captain following last night's win over Russia, in which Gerrard played for the full 90 minutes, he is not anticipating any problems.

'I have confidence in this situation,' said Benitez. 'I spoke with Steven before (the England games). I know he wanted to play and he felt he could play.

'He was a hero for England and it had been a very positive week for him and us in that sense.'

Benitez, however, was less than fulsome in his praise of England's three-goal triumph over Guus Hiddink's men, claiming he was more impressed by the 3-0 victory over Israel four days earlier.

'I thought there were some problems last night, without pointing out what they were,' he said.

'The first game was a good one but when you win 3-0 you can only say `congratulations'.'