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Liverpool Player Review: Martin Kelly

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In case you forgot what he looked like...
In case you forgot what he looked like...

Seems like he made a lot more than 10 league appearances, doesn't it? But that's all it was. That tends to happen when a kid comes through and looks so effective. The excitement seems to drip and cloud over that actual numbers. But that's what they are, and 18 appearances overall, with six coming in the Europa League. But there was enough there to have us all dreaming about what's to come, wasn't there?

Positives: Enough for sure. Kelly was chucked in against ManUre in the FA Cup in Kenny Dalglish's first game, and didn't put a foot wrong. And it pretty much continued from there. He was in the starting 11 for the win over Chelsea, where the entire left side of Chelsea's attack pretty much chucked it in after an hour or so, such was the wall provided by Kelly and Kuyt covering for him. It's hard to think of one defensive mistake that Kelly made in his run in the team, as after everything stabilized after the manager change Kelly was part of a defense that gave up one goal in seven games. He also showed a willingness to get forward and aid the attack, which Liverpool's lack of width demanded he do.

Negatives: Health for one. Kelly missed the last three months of the season after injuring himself at West Ham. Not surprising for a 21-year old handling his first load of top flight matches. Hopefully this isn't a recurring thing. Other than that it's hard to pinpoint, though his final ball/cross could probably use some work. But again, 21. There's plenty of time for that.

Outlook: Comes down to how much of a gamble Kenny and staff are willing to take. We only have 11 league appearances (10 starts) to work with here. While he was impressive, is that enough to hand him the keys to the first-choice right-back car? Or do you have him spend another season as Glen Johnson's deputy, with the security of knowing that between the two of them that position is locked down, though at the risk of stunting Kelly's development? If I had the answer I would have a better job than this one. To me, there doesn't appear to be a wrong answer. If Johnson is punted, there's cash to be had and Kelly can probably handle it. But it's far from certain.