Aquilani continues progress

Image: Aquilani: Road to recovery

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says Alberto Aquilani could return to training in 'two or three weeks'.

Italy international close to returning to training

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is optimistic that summer signing Alberto Aquilani could return to training in 'two or three weeks'. It was revealed when the ex-Roma star joined the Reds at the start of August that he was possibly eight weeks away from fitness following an ankle operation. But Benitez hinted at the beginning of September that Aquilani was ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation after resuming work in the gym and swimming pool. The Liverpool boss is now hopeful that the Italy international, a £20million replacement for Xabi Alonso, will soon join his new team-mates in training. Benitez said: "Aquilani has improved, he has progressed in the way that we expected and now maybe in two or three weeks we will see him training. "Then we will see how he progresses, but the last scan he had was very good."


Meanwhile, Benitez has sounded his delight that Spain and England have recently joined Holland in booking a place at the 2010 World Cup. The early qualification of the nations means that the likes of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Dirk Kuyt can relax a little when on international duty. Benitez said: "I am not sure now what various international managers will do with their players in final qualifying games now they are sure of going to the finals. "They may try to rest players, experiment or plan, but for sure everyone will now be relaxed and not playing under such pressure. "Now that the English and Spanish players have qualified this week it should make things easier for us. "At least mentally they do not need to worry any more about their qualification. "They need to go to internationals now and enjoy the situation, and that will be another plus point for us because there are no distractions with regard to qualifying or not now. They are there."

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