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Captain to return to first train training next week and claims he is raring to go after a lengthy injury lay-off insisting he is 'fitter, stronger and hungrier than ever'

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard says he hopes to return for the Reds' Sept. 18 clash against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane.

The England international has not featured since March due to a groin injury. After surgery in April, his recovery was further delayed by an infection which put him back in hospital in July and ruled him out of Liverpool's first matches of the new campaign.

Now fully recovered from his long layoff, Gerrard says he can't wait to return to first team action.

"I feel really good and I'm back kicking balls again - it's all positive," Gerrard told the club's official website. "I should be back in full training with the team on Thursday or Friday of next week."

"I won't be involved against Stoke next Saturday but my plan is to hopefully be involved in the game against Tottenham [the following weekend on Sept. 18]. It will be Kenny [Dalglish]'s decision when I come back in."

Gerrard admitted such a long spell on the sidelines had taken its toll on him at times but insisted he felt better than ever and is ready to play a big part in Liverpool's season.

"It's been a tough five months for me since I had the surgery," he said. "It's been up and down emotionally and I've missed playing so much.

"I've had a good rest, I'm fired up and I'm raring to go again. I know I'm going to come back fitter, stronger and hungrier than ever."

The 31-year old was also confident that he could avoid any recurrence of the groin problem and revealed that tests run on the problem area showed his rehabilitation had made him stronger than ever.

"Since coming out of hospital my rehab has gone really well. I'm really happy and positive again. My groin is as strong as it's ever been," he said.

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