Martin Kelly
Martin Kelly says he\'s nearly back to his best for Liverpool.

Martin Kelly believes he's as close as ever to being match-fit for Liverpool with the defender slowly recovering from a long-term injury and hoping to prove himself to Brendan Rodgers once more.

Rodgers had only been in the fray on Merseyside for a few months when Kelly ruptured his ACL in September of 2012 and the England international has been out of action ever since, only joining training with the Reds during pre-season.

So far in the current campaign he has featured for Liverpool three times, as a substitute for games in October, November and most recently against West Ham this month.

And the 23 year old believes that he is closer than ever to being back to his best though Kelly admits it is still a long road before he'll be able to regularly start for Liverpool.

"It was a good chance for me to get some minutes," Kelly told the ECHO. "I'm feeling a lot sharper. I've been doing some additional training over the past few weeks and I'm ready to push on.

"It has taken longer than I hoped to get back to this level but that's been brought on by us not being in the Europa League or having much of a run in the League Cup.

"It's been difficult to get game time as the manager has to pick his best XI to start every game.

"I was just made up to get on against West Ham and now I need to keep progressing. I've been working hard and I feel a lot fitter than back in pre-season."

As with many players coming back from long term injuries Kelly admitted that he has felt frustrated with not being able to showcase his ability, though he is determined to prove that he can rediscover the form that saw him in his manager's first team plans as an integral member of the Liverpool squad.

"I don't think there's been a mental barrier to get through as such, it's more about not feeling as sharp as I wanted," he explained. "Ask anyone who has had a long-term injury and they'll tell you it's tough to get back to that level you were at before the injury.

"It takes time and it comes back slowly. Now I'm back nearly to peak fitness and I'm ready to go."