Liverpool legend John Aldridge believes the return of Steven Gerrard will provide the club with a timely boost as they bid to overcome their recent woes in front of goal.
The talismanic Liverpool captain has endured a hugely frustrating season at Anfield this year, after being perennially hampered by a spate of niggling injuries.
Gerrard made his long-awaited return to Kenny Dalglish's side as a substitute during Liverpool's ultimately disappointing 1-1 draw and Aldridge believes the England international has the quality the club have been crying out for during his recent hiatus.
Liverpool have scored just 21 goals this season despite their lavish expenditure on Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll at the turn of the year, and Aldridge has backed Gerrard to be the catalyst to more goals if he gets played in the heart of Dalglish's midfield.
"LIKE all Reds fans, I was delighted to see our skipper back in action against Blackburn - and his quality was instantly evident." The aforementioned Anfield hero told the Liverpool Echo.
"He offers us direction, quality, class - and you can rest assured that with Steven Gerrard in the team we will score more goals."
Liverpool's malaise in the striking department has been credited with the side's lack of natural width given Stewart Downing's tendency to cut inside from the right-hand flank, and some have intimated Gerrard may begin his tentative steps to recovery in a wide berth of Dalglish, however, Aldridge believes their captain must start centrally.
"The question remaining is, where will Kenny accommodate Stevie in the side? In recent seasons he has proved a creative inspiration just behind a lone striker." The Liverpool legend continued. "He has also excelled in wide positions. But for me he has to play in centre midfield - and I don't really mind who he partners.
"Stevie can dictate the whole direction of a match from that role.
The Liverpool hero concluded: "We probably won't see him from the start against Newcastle, but it won't be long before he's back in the starting line-up. And we'll be a much better side for his presence."
Although Gerrard is unlikely to start their game on Friday, Kenny Dalglish has been delighted with the Liverpool captain's performances in training since his return to fitness.
Steven was back to full fitness before he got a freak injury and that's why he had to recover again, but the two of them weren't related and he is back and looks even better than he did the last time he came back." The Liverpool manager said in his press conference on Wednesday morning.