The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Michael Owen fit in time to take on Sheffield United

Liverpool: Michael Owen has recovered from his latest hamstring injury in time for Liverpool’s League Cup semi-final first-leg tie at Sheffield United on Wednesday.

The England striker has missed the last two games, away at Newcastle and Manchester City, following a recurrence of the troublesome injury that has blighted his career.

“There is a hope for Michael to be back and certainly be involved — that is for sure,” manager Gerard Houllier said on Tuesday. “We will decide after he has trained.”

Liverpool travel to first division Sheffield United in confident mood having ended a 10-game winless streak with last weekend’s 1-0 FA Cup success at Manchester City.

Houllier said: “We don’t like to suffer and I don’t think we have deserved some of the results we have had, but it looks as if that game will start a new part of the season for us.”

“We want to win every competition we are involved in and this (League Cup) is no different.

“Cups go with the tradition of this club and once we won the League Cup the season before last it became a springboard to further success.”

Gerrard charged

The English FA charged Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard with violent conduct on Tuesday relating to his challenge on an Everton player in December’s Merseyside derby.

Television replays showed him jumping two-footed into a challenge with Everton’s Gary Naysmith during the 0-0 draw at Anfield on December 22.

Referee Graham Poll missed the incident but the FA later announced it would study video evidence of the challenge to decide if any action was necessary.

Gerrard, who apologised afterwards and said he had not intended to hurt Naysmith, has 14 days in which to respond officially to the charge.

If found guilty he could be banned, fined or both and Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier indicated that Gerrard would contest the charge.

Butt’s return hopes

Meanwhile, according to a report from Manchester, England midfielder Nicky Butt, who has not played since damaging his ankle against Macedonia in October, hopes to return to action with Manchester United this month.

Butt said he would like to play in United’s FA Cup fourth-round match against West Ham United on January 25.

“I have slowly being upping and upping the training and I will be doing some football work on Thursday and then full training on Monday,” he said.

“I have to be careful because if it flares up again I could be out for another two or three months.”

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