Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admitted Steven Gerrard's long-awaited return from injury is great news for the club.

The 31-year-old has not featured for the Reds since March due to a groin injury but was named on the bench for Wednesday night's Carling Cup third round tie at Brighton. Craig Bellamy and Dirk Kuyt netted the all-important goals in Liverpool's 2-1 victory at the Amex Stadium, with Ashley Barnes' late penalty proving a mere consolation.

As well as progression to the fourth round, the 2,403 visiting fans were also treated to Gerrard's return as a second-half substitute, which Dalglish believes is an important boost for the Reds. Asked whether it was difficult for the Liverpool captain coming back, he said: "It is more difficult when you have been out than when you are coming back, I imagine."

He added: "I've never been out for that length of time fortunately but for Steven, coming back in, it was fantastic for everyone connected with the football club to see him back. But we're more pleased for Steven than anything else because he's worked really hard to get here.

"He has had a few disappointments along the way and just to get 20 minutes will have given him a lift. We will manage the situation as diligently as we have done to get him this far. We want the same as what he wants but we need to be careful with him. We won't get carried away with the fact he is back for 20 minutes, but it's great for everybody."

The defeat was the Seagulls' first at the Amex Stadium but manager Gus Poyet was buoyed by his side's response after a poor first-half showing.

"It was an easy half-time meeting," he said.

"There are some days when you are sitting there and thinking 'what am I going to say?' but this time it was very easy. There were too many players desperate to play. They were waiting for the game and we lost half an hour not being alert, not being aware of what is going on.

"Of course you need to pay credit to Liverpool because I think the four more offensive players especially were outstanding. Maxi, Kuyt, Bellamy and [Luis] Suarez moved it around at their best. Passing the ball around, interchanging positions. It doesn't matter how good you are, it doesn't matter the system you play - if you play that quality you are going to suffer.

"But, saying that, we were not there as a team for some reason [in the first half] and that was the aim of the game. Of course go and try to win it, but [we wanted] to see if we could be ourselves against anyone and we did it in the second half."

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Topics:
Football
League Cup
Ashley Barnes
Craig Bellamy
Premier League
Kenny Dalglish
Dirk Kuyt
Steven Gerrard
Brighton & Hove Albion
Liverpool