Aurelio ready to return

Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 by PA

Liverpool expect to have Brazilian full-back Fabio Aurelio back in their squad for the first time this season against Burnley, after his recovery from knee surgery in the summer.

Aurelio has played in two practice matches in recent days and will at least be on the bench for the Barclays Premier League match at Anfield.

Benitez does not expect any injury problems from the international matches his players have been involved in this week.

Benitez believes his World Cup-bound stars can now relax and produce their best football for Liverpool.

The Merseysiders face promoted Burnley for the first time in the league for 33 years, with their Champions League schedule starting on Wednesday with a home clash with Hungarian champions Debrecen.

And boss Benitez is relieved that this demanding programme comes with the knowledge that his English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and Brazilian players know they are on their way to next summer's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Benitez said: "I am not sure now what various international managers will do with their players in final qualifying games now they are sure of going to the finals.

"They may try to rest players, experiment or plan, but for sure everyone will now be relaxed and not playing under such pressure. Now that the English and Spanish players have qualified this week it should make things easier for us.

"At least mentally they do not need to worry any more about their qualification. They need to go to internationals now and enjoy the situation, and that will be another plus point for us because there are no distractions with regard to qualifying or not now. They are there."

Burnley boss Owen Coyle hopes his international players return fit as they seek a first Barclays Premier League away pointl.

Scotland pair Steven Fletcher and Graham Alexander, Northern Ireland striker Martin Paterson and Cameroon defender Andre Bikey were not due to resume training until today.

Steven Caldwell misses out again with groin trouble but defenders Richard Eckersley (suspension) and Michael Duff (ankle) are back in the squad and on-loan striker David Nugent - a former Liverpool youth academy player - is hoping to feature.

Burnley defender Clarke Carlisle admits it was a strange experience watching Steven Gerrard's blockbuster performance for England on Wednesday night in the knowledge he would be playing against him this weekend.

The Clarets travel to Liverpool knowing that if they are to emerge from the fixture with anything, they will have to contain Gerrard, whose two goals helped England to the emphatic 5-1 win over Croatia which sealed their qualification for next year's World Cup finals.

Fabio Capello's team put on quite a show for the Wembley crowd and the wider television audience, but there was at least one England fan watching on with a degree of trepidation.

"It's different to in the past, because now you are looking at the game and how these players perform with a view to playing against them in a couple of weeks' time," Carlisle said. "One or two seasons ago I was just idolising them and it is so different watching television and seeing how teams play with a view to combating that when you come up against them.

"We are very aware of what Liverpool possess, but it's down to us, and if we do what we can do, it will be a very good game. We will be defending as a team I sincerely hope because we (defenders) will probably need some help against Gerrard and the likes of Fernando Torres.

"We can cause Liverpool problems going forward, but we have to make sure that we defend resolutely when we have to."

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