It hasn't been the best of seasons for Martin Kelly, with the young fullback suffering a ruptured ACL against Manchester United only to watch Andre Wisdom step up and take his place as the club's second right back and third fullback on either side of the pitch.
Things have begun to look up for him in the new year, though, with the player on schedule to return to action towards the end of March and having just signed a new contract at the start of February. And when he does return, Kelly isn't worried by facing the added competition at fullback provided by Wisdom.
"It’s always good at any club to have competition for places," he said. "Whether you are looking to take someone’s place, or you are looking behind at someone who is pushing for yours, it’s always a great thing to have. It helps you progress as a player."
Both Kelly and Wisdom spent most of their time at Liverpool's academy playing at centre back, and now both appear to be set to compete back up Glen Johnson on the right, either for when the England international cannot play or for when he shifts to the left to cover for Jose Enrique.
For many, though, there is an assumption that despite both youngsters appearing increasingly at home in wider areas, their futures involve a move back into the heart of defence. It's a thought Kelly seems to have in the back of his mind as well.
"Once I’m fit," he added, "if I just keep working and stay injury free, my game can progress really well and I can be dangerous as a fullback and at centre back."
With a looming shortage of centre backs, as Jamie Carragher prepares for his retirement while Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates are unfavoured by the manage, it could open the path to just such a move for at least one of them—maybe even over the final months of the current season.