Martin Kelly
Martin Kelly is not yet ready for regular first-team action, Brendan Rodgers says.

Brendan Rodgers says Martin Kelly is not yet ready to fully return to action for Liverpool as the defender continues to recover from a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Kelly has been out of regular action for over a year following the injury and has only featured twice for the Reds this season, with Rodgers choosing Jon Flanagan over him to take to the pitch after Glen Johnson suffered a jaw infection in the lead-up to the Arsenal fixture.

And Rodgers has now explained that while Kelly is featuring for the Liverpool under 21 side he still isn't confident enough to get back into first team action on a consistent basis.

"Just getting him fit is the most important element of Martin's career at the moment," the manager said, according to ESPN.

"I gave him a little sample in the game against Crystal Palace, 30 minutes when I felt we had control of the game, and afterwards he didn't feel quite right which is why young Jon Flanagan played the Arsenal game. It is going to take time for him.

"He is playing in the under-21 games to get his fitness up. Martin is working very hard and we are trying to give him as much game time as we can outside the first team so when he goes in he can contribute without worrying if he is going to break down.

"When you have been out for so long, naturally you are a wee bit tentative. When he played against Palace it was his first Premier League appearance for 13 months, so naturally it is going to affect you in some way."

Kelly's return to the defensive ranks would certainly serve as a big boost for Liverpool who have been particularly reliant on their backline in their push for a top four finish.

Johnson's absence, alongside Jose Enrique not being present who is also getting back to full fitness after recovering from injury, was very noticeable against Arsenal and the Reds were clearly vulnerable at the back as Wenger's men took a 2-0 win.