KENNY DALGLISH believes Liverpool will reap the benefits of Craig Bellamy's wealth of experience.
The Welsh striker, who rejoined the Reds last week on a free transfer from Manchester City, could make his debut at Stoke City today.
Bellamy's last spell with Liverpool only lasted one season, in 2006/7, but Dalglish insists he's now better equipped to be a success at Anfield.
The manager is a big admirer of the 32-year-old, and is delighted to have him on board: “Craig's a fantastic trainer, he has good pace and is always a threat,” Dalglish said. “He always looks like he’s going to do something. He’s wiser now and uses his experience really well.
“I think he’s a better player now than he was when he was 25. I think he’s ideal for us and someone who will really help us.
“When he came here last time, he said he was a Liverpool fan and had always wanted to play for the club. Now he has that opportunity again. The older you get, the less opportunities you get, and he wanted to grab this one.”
Bellamy, who was out of favour at Manchester City after a season on loan at Cardiff, is likely to be on the bench at the Britannia Stadium today. However, Dalglish insists he's ready for action.
“Craig hasn't played many games – he's had two internationals and a few reserve friendlies,” he added. “But against Montenegro he was flying in the last minute so I don’t think there’s any problem with his fitness. If he has to play on Saturday, no problem.”
Bellamy was involved in a well- publicised incident with John Arne Riise during his first stint with the Reds, but Dalglish has no concerns about his character.
He said: “I don't think there will be a problem – he's given up golf!
“You wouldn't want to take away the personality from any players.
“It is amazing how people focus on maybe the bad side of someone, they never focus on the good side because that doesn't make a good story.
“Fortunately, he has come to a club that doesn't want to do that, we want to concentrate on the good bits.”
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard is relishing being back in full training after his lengthy absence due to groin surgery.
The skipper said: “I've been in full training for the last two days. It came as a bit of shock to the system because I've been one on one with (head of fitness and conditioning) Darren Burgess for three or four weeks, working really hard to get to a certain level of fitness.
“Now I'm back in with the boys, it's a completely different ball game – it's a lot tougher and quicker so I'm really tired. But I'm really close now so I'm getting excited and looking forward to coming back.
“I think it's fantastic for the club that we've started the season well. There is a great spirit between the supporters and players so we need to continue that.”