Martin Kelly has been the subject of fitness concerns during most of his tenure with the senior team, so it seems natural that his injury plagued career was the main talking point in a lengthy interview appearing in the Liverpool Echo.
"My knee feels perfect and I'm just glad to be back with the team for pre-season," Kelly said. "It's been 10 months now so the knee has had more than enough time to heal. Now I just feel unfit, I don't feel like I've had a big injury. I've put it behind me — that was last season, this is a new season."
Having rehabbed the injury under the watchful eye of Lucas Leiva, who shared with Kelly his own experiences of coming back from an ACL injury, Kelly returned to pre-season training ahead of his teammates in order to get a head start on building fitness in hopes of featuring in the club's first pre-season match against Preston North End on Saturday.
Much digital ink has been spilled waxing lyrical about the miracles performed last season by the club's medical team on the likes of Steven "Groin" Gerrard and Daniel "Avian Bone Syndrome" Agger, and it sounds as though the team have made similar strides with Kelly and the challenges his injuries present him with.
"I've had the injuries and I know how to look after my body now ‐ making sure it gets the right rest and food," the defender continued. "That's going to stand me in good stead. I know what limits my body can take now.
"We have pushed it to the limits over the past eight months so it can withstand the demands of the Premier League. Fingers crossed this is the season when it all turns around for me and I get that little bit of luck so I can really push on."
The whole of the interview is worth reading for those who are interested in the gory details of his knee reconstruction, or for sentimental types who enjoy a tear-jerking story of a father and son experiencing the same injuries, but the most telling part is Kelly's own admission that he's a player that "takes that bit longer to heal." Better to take longer and heal properly than to rush back before you're ready, of course, but with the unfinished puzzle that is Liverpool's back line being dependent on Kelly's piece — if not as a starter then at least as depth — the club need to be extra sure they have the defensive resources in place to cope.