Liverpool defender Martin Kelly has signed a new long-term contract at Anfield as Brendan Rodgers seeks a replacement for the retiring Jamie Carragher.

After Kop legend Carragher announced on Thursday he is set to hang up his boots at the end of the season, Kelly’s new deal will come as welcome news to the Reds faithful.

The 22-year-old, who is currently out injured with a knee problem, expressed his delight upon signing the contract as he looks to work his way back into the squad.

"Being a Liverpool supporter myself, it's brilliant to put the shirt on and I'm doing what I have loved doing since I was a kid," Kelly told the club's official website. "I'm over the moon.

"Today shows the faith that the club have in me and that the hard work I have put in since I was young has paid off. Hopefully I'll put the injuries behind me. We have excellent medical staff here, who are going to work me and keep me on top of my injury. I'll be coming back even stronger."

Kelly has made 54 appearances since he came through the Liverpool youth academy and broke into the England senior squad last season, but hasn’t featured since suffering cruciate damage against Manchester United back in September.

Managing director Ian Ayre hopes signing a new deal will put an end to speculation about his future, and hopes he can return to action soon.

"I think everybody has been starting to see and enjoy Martin's potential and the work he has showed to get into the first team and these are the things we are looking for,” Ayre added.

"He was very unfortunate to get his injury but he has worked very hard with the physios and the medical team and hopefully we'll see him back soon. Signing him up for the long term is very important for us."

Liverpool still retain hope of a top-four finish, and will be looking to climb further up the Premier League table with victory over West Bromwich Albion on Monday evening. They earned a point away at Manchester City last weekend.

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