Liverpool v Blackburn

Barclays Premier League; Anfield; Monday, 26th December; 15:00 KO.

Team News

Steven Gerrard has returned to training for the Reds, but remains rated as doubtful for today's Boxing Day clash.

Jay Spearing returns from suspension and is expected to start, with Lucas Leiva out injured for the rest of the season.

Paul Robinson is a major doubt for the visitors after tearing a calf muscle - the former England stopper aims to play through the pain for Steve Kean's side.

Scott Dann, Ryan Nelsen, Martin Olsson and Gael Givet are the other defensive problems for Rovers, meaning they'll have to shuffle the pack once again at the back.

Carroll gets 'King Kenny' backing

Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has tipped striker Andy Carroll to take his chance whenever it comes over the festive period.

The £35 million signing last January has failed to impress at Anfield since making the move from Newcastle, and has found first team opportunities limited this season.

However, an eight-game ban for Luis Suarez and a handful of games in a short period of time suggests the England striker will get some chances in the coming weeks, and Dalglish has no doubts that the youngster will take his chance.

"I think what we have to remember is that for seven new players it's their first season and you would include Andy in that as well," the Scot told the official Liverpool website.

"He came in last season with an injury and never featured until the Manchester United game (in March), when he came on as a sub. So his career really only started in August there.

"We have got to get to know them and they have got to get to know us and I think it is a fantastic credit to all of them - the new ones and the ones that were here before -that they have gelled so quickly.

"That includes everybody who has come in. It will take a bit of time for everyone to be acquainted with each other but we are happy with the progress we have made so far."

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