Kewell glad to be back
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Harry Kewell has thanked Rafa Benitez for getting him back to fitness.Harry Kewell has thanked Rafa Benitez's help and patience for getting him back to fitness before the end of the season.
The Australian winger has been struggling with injuries all season, and had not figured for The Reds since the Carling Cup final before Wednesday night.
Kewell made a return to action as a late substitute against Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge, and the former Leeds man was delighted.
Benitez has previously questioned Kewell's appetite to get himself fully fit after a series of niggling injuries, but the manager has helped him out.
Kewell says that Benitez put him in touch with a doctor in his native Spain, and he has helped Kewell to bounce back to fitness - with the player insisting he has been working hard.
"I've gone through a rough season, but there's a guy out in Spain who has got me back, so all credit to him," Kewell told the club's website.
"He's a physio with a local team in Cadiz that the manager knew.
"We've worked with Liverpool and also out there. I've been away for about a month. Two weeks here, and two weeks there.
"If you had told me a month ago that I had a chance of even being substitute for the semi-final of the Champions League at Chelsea last Wednesday I would have taken it. I would even have signed a piece of paper.
"It's just nice to be out there and running with no pain. I've done a lot of massaging, stretching and strength work. It's been all work, I've got no tan.
"I feel about 80 percent fit now, but the difference is that I am now 80 percent with no pain.
"It's a big step forward for me. I've gone through the whole season with pain and it is something you have to deal with as a footballer.
"But it got to the stage where I had to pull the plug. I had to bite the bullet.
"I have a debt of gratitude to Liverpool. The boss has worked really hard to get me back fit. All I want to do is play football."