Kewell grateful to Rafa
By Simon Fudge
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Liverpool winger Harry Kewell is grateful to Rafa Benitez for saving his top-flight career.
Liverpool winger Harry Kewell has shown his gratitude to manager Rafa Benitez for saving his top-flight career.
The Australia international has made a remarkable turnaround from a lengthy spell on the sidelines with injury last season.
The former Leeds United star's Anfield future looked in doubt after a disastrous first-half appearance in last season's UEFA Champions League final in Istanbul.
The left-sided midfielder has been a key player for The Reds this term, having made a run of 26 consecutive appearances for the Merseysiders.
With an FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea and a World Cup campaign with The SocceRoos still to come in the next few weeks, Kewell thanked the former Valencia boss for showing faith in him.
"Without the manager's confidence in me, I'd have been left in a hole and probably faded away," Kewell told Liverpoolfc.tv.
"If you don't have the backing of your manager and team-mates, then you're lost.
"I went home to my family and they were supportive as well. I'm not a very nice person when I'm injured and I know that better than anyone.
"It was difficult, but the people I care about the most stood behind me and I'm thankful for that."
Kewell thinks his productivity in front of goal must improve, if Liverpool want a successful end to the current season.
"If I want to repay the manager, then I have to start scoring more goals for him and for the team," Kewell added.
"I want to do the things I know I'm capable of doing. That's what is driving me on.
"I've never been in an FA Cup semi-final, so on a personal level, it's going to be a big thing just to play in that.
"If we can reach the final, then that will be even better.
"It's going to be a tough game against Chelsea, but we're not looking that far ahead yet because there are other matches to play and win before that one comes along.
"There's no doubt it's going to be a fantastic occasion, though."
Meanwhile, Liverpool's plans to build a new stadium have been re-approved by the local council after the club re-submitted their proposals.
No alterations have been made to the original scheme for a 60,000-capacity ground set to be built close to Anfield in nearby Stanley Park.
The plans, which were originally agreed to almost two years ago, were re-submitted in order to conform to new planning law.