Cole and Cahill back to ease Chelsea workload

Defenders Ashley Cole and Gary Cahill have returned to training after injury, Chelsea interim manager Rafa Benitez said on Friday as he prepared for an "emotional" return to former club Liverpool.

The pair will be assessed on Saturday and could play some part at Anfield on Sunday as Chelsea continue their hectic schedule with their seventh game in 19 days.

Cole (hamstring) has not played since the FA Cup replay victory over Manchester United on the first day of the month while centre-back Cahill (knee) has not featured since the middle of March.

"It is good news," Benitez, who has been rotating his squad during the fixture pile-up, told reporters.

"We have had Gary Cahill and Ashley Cole training today so that was really positive.

"There are no problems apart from Oriol Romeu, the rest of the squad is fit. Maybe it is too early, but we will see tomorrow after another training session."

Chelsea bounced back from Sunday's FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester City at Wembley with a 3-0 London derby victory at Fulham on Wednesday, regaining third place in the Premier League as they look to secure a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.

The fixtures continue to come thick and fast with Chelsea facing a two-legged Europa League semi-final against Switzerland's FC Basel with the away leg on Thursday.

They also have a tough start to the final month of the season when they go to Old Trafford to play Manchester United on May 5, then host London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, also battling for the Champions League spots, four days later.

"The game against Fulham was very important. We needed to be sure we were back in the top three and now every game will be important," Benitez added.

"It's Liverpool now. If we can get three points, we are in the top three, and hopefully it will be the same until the end. I don't see the fixtures of the other teams, just our next game.

"We have enough quality and experience in the squad. We have good momentum so we'll try to keep this."

Benitez is looking forward to coming against the side he managed between 2004 and 2010.

He twice reached the final of the Champions League and won Europe's elite club competition in unforgettable style in 2005 when his Liverpool team came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with AC Milan and triumph on penalties.

"I am a professional so I will try to do my best to achieve the targets here," he said of his Chelsea focus.

"I have a lot of friends and good memories so it will be emotional, but I will try to concentrate on the game and do my best for 90 minutes."