Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool star Dirk Kuyt sets sights on Europa League return

Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt hopes to be fit for the Reds' Europa League trip to his former club Utrecht at the end of this month.

The 30-year-old injured his shoulder during training with the Dutch national team this week and was ruled out for four weeks by club doctor Peter Brukner.

That would mean Kuyt missing the trip to the Stadion Galgenwaard, where he spent five years between 1998 and 2003, on September 30 as well as matches against Birmingham, Steaua Bucharest, Manchester United, Northampton and Sunderland.

But the striker remains optimistic he will be fit for the match in Holland.

He said: “I hope I will make it (for Utrecht) but it all depends on how the injury heals in the first few days.”

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson, though, fears it could be a different story.

He said: “It could be more than four weeks. It's one of those injuries where it's very difficult for the doctor to say and I think four weeks is a very conservative estimate.

“If we're lucky, it could be earlier, but it could be longer. We have to be very careful because it's the type of injury that has to be treated with a lot of respect.

“It's a great blow because Dirk is an important member of our team. He does a job which is not easy to replace because he has all the qualities for that role.”

Kuyt's injury was in danger of leaving Liverpool short up front, with David Ngog also struggling with a hamstring injury.

“He had a problem but is much better now,” said the Liverpool boss. “I am hoping that he will recover in time for this weekend.”

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