Alberto Aquilani may make his Liverpool debut before the end of this month.
The Italian midfielder, a £20million summer signing to fill the gap in the Anfield squad left by Xabi Alonso, is finally allowed to kick a ball in training as his recovery from a knee operation continues.
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez signed the Italy international, knowing he would not be able to play for a minimum of three months. But Aquilani started ball work with the first-team squad last week and has stepped up his training since then.
Benitez will carefully monitor the 25-year-old's progress and he will not be considered for the clash with Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday week.
Aquilani has not played a competitive game since Arsenal beat his old club Roma in the Champions League in March.
Liverpool reserves have a match against Sunderland at home next Wednesday, and he may get a short run-out then. But there is a possibility that he could be used at some point during the Carling Cup tie at Arsenal on October 28.
Aquilani said: "When I am back, I hope I will show I am a player who can pass the ball well, get forward and score goals.
"I have not played football for a long time, so I know it will not be easy to produce my best straightaway. But I will be trying to do that.
"When you are not involved with the team, it is not a good feeling. But it is my ambition to score at the Kop end. I have thought about that a lot during my rehab period."
Captain Steven Gerrard has had treatment on Wednesday on the groin injury that forced his return from England duty and he is due to have a scan on the problem. But Liverpool are confident he will be able to face Sunderland on Saturday.
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