LIVERPOOL, England (AFP) - Rafael Benitez will keep faith with Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard despite his arrest in connection with a bar-room brawl earlier this week.
The Liverpool and England midfielder was arrested on Sunday, after scoring two goals in the Premier League leaders' 5-1 win away to Newcastle, and charged with assault 24 hours later by police following his involvement in the incident at the Lounge Inn in Southport, near Liverpool.
A question mark now hangs over Gerrard's immediate future ahead of Liverpool's FA Cup third round tie on Saturday away to fellow north-west side Preston North End, pushing for promotion to the Premier League.
But Benitez has held clear-the-air talks with his star player and assured Gerrard he will be selected for the game if convinced he is in the right frame of mind to play.
It is understood Gerrard has informed the Liverpool manager he wants to play and that leaving him out of the team would only heighten speculation about his Anfield future.
Preston defender Callum Davidson insists Gerrard's problems will have no bearing on Liverpool when it comes to the game.
"People are saying this could be a good time to play Liverpool, but I don't think it will be a distraction," he said.
"I can recall the time when I was playing for Leicester and the club went into administration.
"Despite the financial implications that carries, we did not let it interfere with how we played. I know the circumstances are different but once players run on to the field their professionalism always takes over.
"And Liverpool have some of the best professionals in the game."
On a more positive note for Benitez, he could be in a position to welcome back leading striker Fernando Torres from a hamstring injury.
Albert Riera believes the leaders will be an even more formidable prospect once Torres returns to action.
Riera cannot wait to see his compatriot back in Liverpool's first team and he said: "All wingers, in fact all players, would want to play with Fernando because he is such a good player.
"He's so important for our team - scoring 33 goals last season. It's not easy to score that many goals at this level.
"It will be great news for us when he's fit again and I'm sure we'll play a lot of times together and form a good understanding."
|Mourinho ´not unconfident´ Manchester United will sign Sanchez|
|Pogba warns City that United will not give up the chase|
|Assist king Pogba matches De Bruyne, Sane despite injury and suspension|
|Manchester United 3 Stoke City 0: Valencia, Martial and Lukaku trim gap at the top|
|Shaw feeling on top of his game amid United run|
|Mkhitaryan left out by Manchester United amid Arsenal talk|
|Inter secure Lopez on loan from Benfica|
|Hurst marvels at hat-trick maestro Kane|
|WATCH: Neymar nutmegging for fun in PSG training|
|Nantes´ Carlos has red card overturned after being kicked by referee|
|´Logical´ for Aubameyang to stay at Dortmund, says Stoger|
|Stupid not to - Giggs seeks Fergie´s advice upon taking Wales job|
|Suarez feared Chiellini bite would derail Barca transfer|
|Dortmund sign reported Man United target Akanji|
|Wales confirm Giggs appointment|
|Barcelona´s Dembele out for up to four weeks|
|Struggling Stoke appoint Lambert|
|Referee suspended until further notice after kicking Nantes´ Carlos|
|Coutinho´s ´deserved´ Barca move, says Figo|
|Fatigue the issue for goal-shy Chelsea - Conte|
|West Brom legend Regis dies aged 59|
|Mourinho: I don´t like feuding with managers|
|Puel confident of keeping Mahrez at Leicester|
|Valverde: Real Madrid haven´t given up on LaLiga|
|Ibrahimovic nearing end at top level – Mourinho|
|David is to keep - Mourinho wants new Man United deal for De Gea|
|Nantes president demands ban after referee kicks Carlos|
|Stoger sets out rules for Aubameyang reintegration at Dortmund|
|Nantes´ Carlos sent off after being kicked by ref against PSG|
|Nantes 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Match-winner Di Maria not made to rue wild miss|
|Strawberry fillings forever? Klopp inquisitor takes the cake|
|Real Sociedad 2 Barcelona 4: Messi claims new landmark as Anoeta curse is broken|
|Messi breaks Muller goal record|
|Klopp confirms Karius as Liverpool number one|
|Liverpool proved point without Coutinho, says proud Klopp|
|Burki backs Stoger decision to drop Aubameyang for ´stupid´ behaviour|
|I don´t know what is going to happen - Guardiola quiet on Sanchez to City talk|
|Delph injury compounds Manchester City´s Anfield misery|
|Wow, what a game! – Klopp revels in Liverpool´s stunning success|
|Borussia Dortmund 0 Wolfsburg 0: Sanctioned Aubameyang sorely missed by wasteful hosts|
|Manchester City´s ´Invincibles´ bid ended in game 23|
|Liverpool rampage too much for Man City, says Oxlade-Chamberlain|
|Aspas denies Lerma allegations of racist remark|
|Liverpool 4 Manchester City 3: Klopp´s men beat City and the Coutinho blues|
|Ronaldo-Neymar swap deal a diversionary tactic, says Calderon|
|Arsenal line-up didn´t boost Bournemouth, insists Howe|
|Wenger worried about ´lacklustre´ Arsenal|
|Sanchez ´half in, half out´ of Arsenal, says Wenger|
|Comparing Dybala with Messi is a joke – Cassano|
|Aubameyang dropped for disciplinary reasons again|
|Ulreich backs Ribery for Bayern extension|
|Bournemouth 2 Arsenal 1: Wenger´s worries worsen without Sanchez|
|Liverpool´s Van Dijk out of Man City match|
|Action not FIFA´s ´responsibility´ after condemning offensive Spartak tweet|
|Liverpool would be a great club for Zaha, says De Boer|
|FA to make enquiries into West Brom-Brighton allegation|
|Keita not joining Liverpool in January, say RB Leipzig|
|Wenger reveals Sanchez resolution imminent|
|Goretzka decision expected ´in a few days´, says Rummenigge|
|Sanchez left out of Arsenal squad amid transfer rumours|
|No offence intended by Aubameyang ´monkey circus´ remarks|
|Normal for Lacazette to struggle, says Wenger|
|A-League Review: Melbourne City stage comeback, Sydney FC held|
|Man City lucky Coutinho has gone, Wijnaldum claims|
|Shoot them – Ferguson scathing of referees|
|Kroos says Madrid must focus on qualifying for Champions League|
|Oblak: No contract talks with Atletico|
|Mkhitaryan to leave Man United? Every player has a price, says Mourinho|
|It´s very f****** up for all the players - Zidane laments Real Madrid woes|
|We chose to defend – Simeone not worried by Atletico negativity|
|You fight for fantastic opportunities – Mourinho hints at Sanchez move|