Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard believes he's better than ever and ready to prove the doubters wrong.
The England international midfielder has been sidelined since March after undergoing surgery on a troublesome groin injury, missing action for both club and country in the process.
However, 31-year-old is closing in on a return to first team action at Anfield, and believes his body is in the best shape of his life.
"I'm in good shape and feel better than ever. My body weight, fat levels and upper body strength are all good," the skipper told The Liverpool Echo.
"My groin has been fixed and is as strong as ever. What I've done over the past four weeks tells me that's the case and I've got total confidence in it.
"But it will take time for people to see me out playing again and playing well for them to believe what I'm saying in this interview."
Poised for a return to full training next week, Gerrard himself expects to return for the Barclays Premier League clash against Spurs on September 18th.
The Reds' talisman is under no illusions that there will be doubts about his ability to recreate the form that's made him one of the world's best, but Gerrard is in no doubt that he will return to strengthen Kenny Dalglish's side.
"To be honest it gets to the stage with me that if there are no rumours about my private life or my football it's not normal. I'm used to it all. I've heard the whispers - Gerrard is finished and he's not going to be the player he was," he continued.
"I can't worry or concentrate too much on what fans or people in the press are whispering to themselves. I can't control all that. If people believe that's the case then they will be in for a surprise.
"Hearing stuff like that doesn't give me any extra motivation. The motivation for me is to captain this team to a successful season. I'm looking to come in, strengthen the squad and push on with the lads to hopefully have a good year."
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