St James' trip too soon for Gerrard

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will not be fit to play in tomorrow's match at Newcastle but is on course for a return the following weekend.

The 30-year-old is still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained on England duty last month and will not travel to St James' Park with the rest of the squad.

"I don't know where the stories came from that Gerrard would be fit for Newcastle," said manager Roy Hodgson.

"We have always been thinking he would be fit to face Fulham the following weekend; it would be much too early to consider him for Newcastle.

"But he is making very good progress, which we are happy with, and he is absolutely on schedule but Newcastle was an unrealistic target."

Hodgson also revealed he had challenged defender Daniel Agger to prove his fitness for the match at Anfield against the Cottagers.

The Denmark centre-back has not played since September 25 because of a calf problem.

Liverpool's medical staff believe he needs a couple more weeks' rehabilitation but Hodgson and Agger are both pushing for a return in nine days.

Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs is expected to be sidelined for around three weeks with an ankle injury, manager Arsene Wenger said last night.

The 21-year-old left-back sustained only minor damage when he slipped during the first half of Wednesday night's 3-1 Champions League win over Partizan Belgrade at Emirates Stadium.

Wenger hopes England international Gibbs – who suffered a metatarsal injury during November 2009 which sidelined him for the rest of the season and put him out of contention for a World Cup place – will soon be back in action.

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