London - Manager Kenny Dalglish claims Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's career was saved by the club's medical staff after they reacted quickly to a mystery ankle infection.
Gerrard, 31, has been sidelined since late October as a result of the ankle problem which then attacked his body.
It has been a frustrating nine months for the England midfielder as he had only just returned to action in September from a six-month spell out with a groin injury.
But Dalglish believes the outcome could have been much worse for Gerrard if the Reds' medical team hadn't identified the problem and arranged hasty hospital treatment.
"If it hadn't been dealt with quickly and properly it could have ended up more serious," Dalglish told The People.
"But he got fantastic treatment and it's been sorted and solved.
"The credit goes to our medical people who identified it and reacted. It was unknown territory for us."
Gerrard is close to a return to action over the Christmas period and Dalglish has been impressive with the way his star player has dealt with the frustration of so many injury setbacks.
If Gerrard can get back to his best by the new year it will be a major boost for Daglish, who is already missing injured Brazilian midfielder Lucas and suspended young midfielder Jay Spearing.
"When you consider what he has been through he has done unbelievably well," Dalglish said.
"But he has a strong character and that is reflected in coming through what he's been through.
"He is desperate to play but we need to manage it properly."