How Martin Kelly will put Glen Johnson under pressure at Liverpool

Glen Johnson (low quality)

Martin Kelly plans to put pressure on Glen Johnson this season - and that should be music to the ears of all connected with Liverpool.

Kelly spent the majority of last season on the treatment table and made just five appearances for the Reds.

Similarly, Jose Enrique also spent large portions of the campaign on the sidelines, with Spaniard playing just eight times.

Aly Cissokho's inability to cope with the demands of Premier League football meant Jon Flanagan was moved to the left-back spot for the final few months of the season, and without any real competition for his position, Johnson slipped into mediocrity.

Complacency set in for the England defender, and after Kyle Walker's chances of playing at the World Cup were ended through injury, Johnson's malaise extended into his international career.

The 29-year-old came in for fierce criticism in the wake of Liverpool throwing away a three-goal lead against Crystal Palace in their penultimate game of the season, and the Selhurst Park nightmare all but ended the Reds' hopes of a first league title in 24 years.

"Absolutely clueless!" is how Johnson branded his critics on Twitter after the game, but the Anfield hierarchy appear to be amongst those detractors - they have yet to offer him a new contract, despite being inside the final 12 months.

Which is why Kelly's enthusiasm about his return to fitness should be greeted with positivity from all connected with the club.

Speaking on the club's pre-season tour of America, the 24-year-old said: "I think in terms of confidence and feeling strong I'm definitely 100 per cent, but in longer terms that takes games. You can't replicate that in training, so the more games I play, the more I'll get up to that peak fitness which is what I need this season - it's a massive season for me.

"I've been fit for a season now but I haven't had the games, so the run of games is vital for me this season and hopefully they'll come in this pre-season. As a young lad you train and then you play at the weekend, so to train throughout the week and then not play at the weekend was difficult [last season].

"But I'm still part of the team, I was still travelling to all the games and I still felt a part of it. That's what was good from Brendan - to keep me involved with the team. I'm just looking forward to this season, enjoying my football, enjoying being here with the team and it's exciting times for Liverpool as you know."

If Kelly can prove his fitness this current campaign then competition he would provide to a seemingly demotivated Johnson would only help both players, and the Anfield club themselves.

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