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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 26, 2011

Kelly confident of cementing Reds place

Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly believes he cam become a mainstay in the Reds first team for many years to come after enjoying a breakthrough season at Anfield.

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Kelly, 20, displaced England international Glen Johnson as Liverpool's first-choice right-back under former boss Roy Hodgson and has retained that position under Kenny Dalglish, with Johnson forced to play out of position at left-back under the Scot.

And with the Liverpool academy graduate set to continue at right-back against Fulham on Wednesday, he has confidently stated his intention to hold onto his place in the starting XI.

"It has been good to play in the games," Kelly said. "As a young player you want to play as much as you can and gain experience. To play in the Premier League is more than beneficial to me. Kenny Dalglish just wants me to go out there and show what I can do and push for a place all the time.

"You have to take your chance. Now I just need to keep the consistency going. It is a totally different game at right-back to centre-half but I have found it quite easy to adapt. You get more off the ball for a start.''

Dalglish, who stepped in after the departure of Hodgson, saw his side win for the first time under his stewardship with a 3-0 victory at Wolves at the weekend.

And Kelly has noticed a different atmosphere already around the club following the arrival of a Liverpool legend.

"We have been a bit unlucky with results in the past," Kelly said. "Hopefully they will now go our way. It is like having a 12th man with Kenny on the line encouraging us.

"We are doing a lot of football in training and that helps a lot. It is a bit more enjoyable as well, very competitive as everyone is fighting for a place in the team.''

Dalglish is pleased with Kelly's progress and also sees his him as a long-term fixture at Anfield.

"Martin's done very well for the club,'' Dalglish said. "He's like a new signing for the club because that's four on the spin he's played now. It doesn't matter what age you are, if you are performing you'll have a chance of playing. He's certainly deserved his opportunities.

"He is getting a good bit of help from people around and about him. But it is impressive when you come into a team that isn't playing as well as it can and you play as well as he has done.''

Liverpool welcome back skipper Steven Gerrard following his three-match suspension and Kelly said he is looking forward to playing alongside the England midfielder.

"It is a great boost for us to have him available," he said. I am sure he will give us a lift on Wednesday and I am looking forward to that.''

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