Benitez hopeful on Aquilani return

Alberto Aquilani could return from injury ahead of schedule, according to Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez.

The Italian international was signed for £20million to fill the void created by Xabi Alonso's departure to Real Madrid, but is yet to feature for the Reds this season as he convalesces following ankle surgery.

Benitez has revealed that the 25-year-old midfielder has stepped up his rehabilitation, starting running and aerobic work at the club's Melwood training ground.

"He's going forward, progressing and he started running. If that goes okay then everything will go a bit faster," Benitez told the club's official website.

"We have not set a target or any time, but he's doing well."

Reports suggest that the midfielder could be be ready to play as soon as mid-October, with the trip to Sunderland on the 17th earmarked as his potential comeback match.