Martin Kelly and Liverpool Reportedly Agree to Contract Extension
UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 8, at 11:15 a.m. ET by Tim Daniels
Liverpool have confirmed the Kelly extension on their official site. The announcement included comments from the defender:
"I'm delighted to have signed. It means everything to me and my family. I've been at Liverpool since I was seven, so it's in my heart and I love the club.
"When you play in the Liverpool shirt, you have to show the fans what it means. I just love playing and trying my hardest for the supporters and for my family.
"Being a Liverpool supporter myself, it's brilliant to put the shirt on and I'm doing what I have loved doing since I was a kid. I'm over the moon.
"Today shows the faith that the club have in me and that the hard work I have put in since I was young has paid off. Hopefully I'll put the injuries behind me. We have excellent medical staff here, who are going to work me and keep me on top of my injury. I'll be coming back even stronger."
---End of update---
The new deal was reached one day after longtime Reds defender Jamie Carragher announced (via BBC Sport) he will retire at season's end. Kelly is viewed as one player capable of stepping up to help fill the defensive void heading into next season.
Kelly, who's currently sidelined by a knee injury, has been with Liverpool since joining the youth academy in 1997. Now 22, he's made 54 appearances for the Reds and has also been called up to the England national team.
He possesses a lot of potential, there's no doubt about that. Liverpool are hoping he can return from his serious knee injury without suffering any lasting effects so that he can start gaining some experience during the season's stretch run.
Of course, his biggest challenge will come during the run up to next season. Losing a player like Carragher—a rock along the Liverpool back line for nearly two decades—will put a lot of pressure on the club's other defenders.
Kelly has the talent to lessen the impact of Carragher's departure, but questions remain. He's played less than a full season of Premier League matches and might still be working his way back to top form after a serious knee injury.
By inking him to a long-term deal, the Reds show they have confidence in his ability to become a key piece of the squad moving forward. It's just going to take some time before he settles into his new, more vital role.
All told, Liverpool take another step toward securing Kelly's future at Anfield, and now the Reds have to hope he lives up to the hype.
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