With Jamie Carragher on his way out, Liverpool have today tied up the player they hope may become the local anchor of the club's defence in the coming years with Martin Kelly agreeing a new long term deal. The 22-year-old defender had been offered a new contract in the autumn but at the time turned it down, with rumours swirling the club wasn't willing to meet his wage demands.
Liverpool, meanwhile, had justifiable concerns about the player's injury record. It seemed a situation with the potential to devolve into ugliness, but in the end the two sides have been able to bridge whatever gap may have existed, ensuring Kelly will remain at Liverpool for the foreseeable future and confirming that once he returns to fitness he will remain in Brendan Rodgers' plans.
Kelly made six starts for Liverpool this season before rupturing his ACL during a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United in September; he has also made one senior appearance for England. A return to action for the defender is likely to come towards the end of next month at the very earliest, though regaining match fitness could take considerably longer.
With the club's desire to build through local talent and academy graduates, the re-signing of Kelly—one of the few genuine success stories to emerge from the academy before its restructuring—was of massive importance for Rodgers and the club. Still, despite his clear promise, Kelly's injury record remains a genuine cause for concern for a player who has been injured as often as he's been fit since making the move to first-team football.