Gerrard laments forgettable year
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits he will be glad to see the end of a year which has seen him sidelined with injuries for long periods.
Last season ended prematurely because of a groin problem in March which required surgery and his comeback in the new campaign was delayed by an infection. He returned in the Carling Cup second-round tie at Brighton in September but in late October picked up an ankle infection which kept him out for two months.
Gerrard made his long-awaited comeback against Blackburn on Boxing Day and is now looking forward to 2012, telling the Liverpool Echo: "Without doubt I'll be glad to see the back of 2011. It's been tough but that's all in the past now."
He added: "We have got a massive game against Newcastle [on Friday] and we need to take care of that and finish this year on a high before we start thinking about next year.
"But I'm looking forward to 2012. There's still so much to play for this season. If I can just get a bit of luck and stay fit hopefully I can really enjoy the final five months of the season."
Gerrard said his latest lay-off had been "absolute torture", and said: "It's just great to be back involved again. When the surgeon said I would miss another eight weeks it took me weeks to get over the news.
"It was a freak injury and coming so soon after being out for so long with my groin it's been absolute torture.
"I've just had to work so hard to get back again and now I'm looking forward to playing games.
"There have been a lot of lonely days in the gym this year when you struggle to motivate yourself.
"I have worked my socks off over the past eight weeks and I feel really good. I'm feeling in great condition and all I need now is minutes under my belt to get the sharpness back."