Liverpool’s Dirk Kuyt is feeling better than ever as the Reds kick off the new season, adding that he is desperate to fight for his slot in the squad that has been refreshed by Kenny Dalglish’s summer spending.
The Dutch striker put his condition down to an intense and uninterrupted pre-season, and after 175 appearances for the Merseyside club, he is not ready to step aside for younger forwards such as Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez quite yet.
The 31-year-old goes into Saturday’s visit to the Emirates with a positive attitude and is ready to be picked for the first team against Arsenal.
"I'm happy we're on the way now… a really big game is waiting for us on Saturday,” Kuyt said.
"I am feeling very well. It's my first full pre-season in many years. Last year, for example, I had two weeks to prepare for the season, but this year I had a full pre-season and I have to say I am feeling fitter than ever.
"I am desperate to play and was disappointed not to start on Saturday, but the manager needs to decide who he's going to pick - and hopefully he's going to pick me for the next game."
However, Kuyt is as loyal as ever to the Anfield cause, and is delighted to see the new faces arriving.
“At the end of the day, you can play very well, score a lot of goals and get some great assists, but it's all to do with the team performance,” Kuyt continued.
"If the team is doing well, your own performances will be okay as well. Hopefully we will do a lot better with the team, especially in the first half of the league."
"I am very excited by the new season. I think the owners and manager have done a great job with the players that have come in January and the summer.
"You always try to make the new lads feel welcome. I think I did and the rest of the lads did as well, so hopefully we can have a great season together."
"It's very positive, we have a great squad, but it's now up to the players to show we are also a great team and have the ability to compete with the best."