Martin Kelly punctuated the next stage of his return from an anterior cruciate ligament injury with a second-half goal at Valerenga on Wednesday and afterwards outlined what remains on his road to full fitness.
Following a promising opening to the 2012-13 season in Brendan Rodgers‘ plans, the 23-year-old suffered the problem against Manchester United last September and was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign.
But now the versatile defender is at Rodgers’ disposal once more and is aiming to build on a positive 45-minute run-out in Norway last night.
“I’m made up to be playing again,” Kelly told LFC TV after the final whistle at the Ullevaal Stadium. ”45 minutes felt like I was playing for a day, but I think that’s the first 45 minutes in 11 months. You can train as much as you want but you can’t replicate games.
“For me to get games is vital in my progression now. I’m made up that it’s healed and feels strong and fit enough. I just need to push on with the ball and keep developing.
“Especially with this injury — it’s one that years ago would finish people’s careers. You can’t take it lightly. I think that’s why we took a little bit longer. I’m the type of person that couldn’t rush back.
“I needed to make sure I was fit in every aspect and covered all areas before I was getting back. Now it is just about getting time and slowly getting back to where I left off last season.
“That’s what preseason friendlies are all about — getting fitness as well as showing the manager what you can do.
“In terms of me personally now, it’s about getting the games under my belt and progressing.
“Speaking to Lucas, his third game last season was Tottenham away in America and he said he still felt very sluggish. It’s just about getting game time, keeping fit and working hard in training.”
Luis Alberto, Iago Aspas and Raheem Sterling were the other scorers in the Reds’ comfortable 4-1 victory over the Norwegians — and the Spanish pair have made a quick impression on Kelly.
“The result is the main thing, keeping that run going in preseason, another win,” he added. ”We haven’t lost — we want to take that into the start of the Premier League and keep ourselves going.
“Luis and Iago have both settled in really well. They are both great lads to get on with. They are good additions to the squad to help us get to where we want to be this season.”