Gerrard and Reina winning fitness race

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Although both Steven Gerrard and Pepe Reina are absent from Liverpool’s pre-season tour of the Far East, manager Kenny Dalglish insists they will be fit for the start of the season.

Gerrard is continuing to struggle following the groin injury that kept him out of the end of last season, whilst Reina is resting following his double hernia operation last month.

Speaking from China, where Liverpool play their first pre-season friendly in Guangzhou this Wednesday, Dalglish told press, “Steven is injured at the moment and that’s why he’s not here with us.

“He has made a fantastic recovery from his operation towards the end of last season. He just needs to get the final couple of niggles out of the way and then he will be fit for the start of the season against Sunderland.

“I know people are disappointed he isn’t here with us but the disappointment would be far greater if he couldn’t play the first [Premier League] game. That is why he has stayed at home, to rest and to have the best chance of being fit for the start of the season.

“The same situation applies to Pepe [Reina] – he had a double hernia operation in June. He isn’t fit and so had to stay at home. He should be ready for the start of the season.”

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