Borini, Kelly Progress Ahead of Schedule

Ian MacNicol

Two of Liverpool's longer-term casualties are getting closer to making a return, and while the calendar likely won't allow for competitive action, both should be ready to go come next season.

Head of Performance Frank Driscoll took the opportunity earlier in the day to give an update on two of Liverpool's most oft-missed players--both Martin Kelly and Fabio Borini have missed extended spells this season; Kelly suffered ligament damage in his knee during the fall and has been out ever since, and Borini's had two extended spells on the treatment table, first after a fracture in his foot required surgery, and then, just a few weeks after a return to competitive action, dislocating his shoulder and needing surgery yet again.

It's mostly been doom and gloom for both, particularly the latter, but Driscoll's update paints a much more positive picture:

"Martin is doing extremely well; he's probably at the late stage of his rehab. We'll probably look to prioritise getting him back for pre-season 110 per cent fit - 10 per cent fitter, stronger and quicker, more powerful and agile than he was previously. He'll probably be in a position where it will be tempting to put him into games again this season. But it will show class and quality if we make sure that he's in a very strong position so he can fly next season.

"Fabio was outside for the first time today, so he's starting that progression - passing balls, running and doing ball work. He's due to be probably another six weeks from this point on. The injury he's had is normally eight to 12 weeks. He's quite a quick rehabilitator. At the moment, it's looking pretty positive for Fabio that he could be back ahead of schedule and maybe make the end of the season."

I think it goes without saying that rushing either back ahead of schedule--or even this season--wouldn't necessarily be seen as resoundingly positive. Great news that they're both recuperating so well, but at this point there is little left to play for, and while squad depth isn't at its peak, I'd much rather see extended cameos for younger players down the stretch than have Kelly or Borini jammed back into the squad after such a long time spent recovering.

Both appear to have an important part to play next season, with talk of Kelly floating somewhere between central defense and fullback, and Borini looking to essentially get his second first season in a Liverpool shirt off in a more successful manner. Anything that could jeopardize that should be avoided, and at least for me, that includes any appearances prior to the end of this season.

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