Times are tough in Liverpool. The Anfield club finds itself in 11th place going in to this weekend's matches, level on points with Everton (shudder), and behind such footballing luminaries as Stoke, Newcastle, and West Ham.
Worse still, they have just a five point cushion on Crystal Palace, Liverpool's 17th-placed opponent for this weekend. While there's a variety of reasons to help explain the side, manager Brendan Rodgers is still facing growing pressure as the man in charge of a bad situation.
One man, at least, has his back. It's even someone that doesn't play for Rodgers any more. Enter Martin Kelly, who moved from Anfield to Crystal Palace this past summer, and apparently still thinks tremendously highly of his old boss.
"I don’t think there’s anyone who could do a better job than Brendan and his backroom staff," Kelly told the Echo. "Liverpool have had a bad run but any loyal supporter will realise that Brendan Rodgers is definitely the right man for the job. Anyone who doubts that should go down and watch a training session, watch how good he is tactically, the way he manages players and how much he does for the club."
Kelly, who's started nine matches for Palace this season and has generally performed well for his new club, is familiar with how struggles can be with Liverpool. He was, after all, part of the Roy Hodgson-lead squad that was under similarly dire straits around this time in 2010. "All teams go through periods like this," he said. "[Liverpool] have struggled to score goals this season.
"Obviously losing Luis Suarez was a big blow and they've been unlucky with injuries as Daniel Sturridge is a big miss. It’s been difficult for them but I’m sure they will come back strong. They've got too many good players there not to. The fans just need to be patient as the talent is there."
Once one of Liverpool's brightest defensive prospects, Kelly is intimately familiar with how injuries can take a toll on a season. A torn ACL piled on top of a myriad of muscular injuries in his legs derailed his career for quite a long time, ultimately ending in his cut-rate move to Palace, a move that came just hours before Tony Pulis resigned as manager in part over disagreements with the club over transfers.
Speaking of his own club's challenge, Kelly hopes that Liverpool isn't ready to bounce back just yet. "I hope Liverpool do pick up but not until next week. We need the points on Sunday even more than them. It’s been too long since we got a win. We played okay at Old Trafford before the international break but we need to turn playing well into getting results."
No matter what the result, it'll be good to see Kelly on the pitch again on Sunday. Him being healthy and playing well again is something Liverpool fans have wanted for a long time, and even if that has to come in another shirt, it's just wonderful for him to be successful. That he still loves Liverpool and backs the people he knows in the club is just a bonus, and a particularly nice bonus in this case.