Martin Kelly has revealed how he received a big confidence boost in playing the full 90 minutes of Liverpool’s FA Cup victory over Oldham Athletic on Sunday.
The Reds defender has struggled with injury and fitness since rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee back in September 2012, but is nearing his full rehabilitation.
“The Oldham game was brilliant for me,” Kelly is quoted by the Liverpool Echo as saying.“I was probably more nervous before the match than I had ever been playing for Liverpool. It was just because it was my first start for so long.
“It’s great to get that behind me. I got cramp in my calf around the 65-minute mark but it was great to get the full 90 minutes – to get up and down that line.”
Kelly started at right-back for the Reds as they went on to knock Oldham out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Iago Aspas and Raheem Sterling.
He added, “We did what was needed to get through to the next round and overall I thought it was a strong performance from the lads.”
Now the 23-year-old hopes for a good FA Cup run to give him more playing time and pushing his way back into the Liverpool first-team.
Kelly believes it is important for more game time for fringe players, like himself.
He continued, “A good Cup run is vital for me in terms of getting games. With no Europa League, we have to keep going in the Cup games.
“Whether we play Bournemouth or Burton next, we know it’s going to be difficult. We will give respect to whoever we are playing.
“As a Liverpool player you want to win every competition – that’s the mentality we have under Brendan Rodgers.
“We’re all enjoying our football and showing the fans what they want to see.”