Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is happy to have Ryan Babel back from the Olympics.

"It's bad news for Holland that they went out but it means we get a player back," he told liverpoolfc.tv.

"Hopefully he can be here either today or tomorrow to train with the rest of his team-mates.

"He has been playing important games so I don't think there will be any problems with his fitness, but our doctor and fitness coaches will check with him and then we will see about the weekend. I am sure he will be okay. If he trains normally then he can be available for Middlesbrough."

Having spent a season acclimatising to life in English football, Benitez feels Babel can have a big part to play in Liverpool's quest for honours this year.

"He's one year older and more experienced now," he added. "He knows the club, he knows his team-mates and so I'm sure this could be a big season for him."