Kenny Dalglish has revealed Liverpool's quick-thinking medical staff may have saved captain Steven Gerrard's career.
Gerrard, 31, has been sidelined since late October with a mystery ankle infection which then attacked his body.
It has been a frustrating nine months for the Liverpool talisman as he only returned to action in September from a six-month spell out with a groin injury.
But he is set to provide some Christmas cheer for the Reds as he nears a first-team comeback.
Dalglish, who has thrown a protective blanket around his skipper, believes the outcome could have been much worse for the England star.
"If it hadn't been dealt with quickly and properly it could have ended up more serious," the Scot 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."
The Reds boss has been boosted by his imminent return and has praised Gerrard's mental toughness.
He said: "When you consider what he has been through he has done unbelievably well.
"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."