Kewell kicking his heels but little else

Long-term injury tests the faith as Australian winger faces lay-off until February
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Harry Kewell admits that he is frustrated by life on the sidelines at Anfield, but has had to accept that he is still some way off making his Liverpool comeback.

The Australian winger has not played since the World Cup in the summer due to foot and groin problems, and he is not expected back again before the end of February.

The 28-year-old is now back in England after undergoing surgery in Australia, and is anxious to get back on the field.

Kewell told the club's website, "At this stage I'd just love to play against anyone. I would go out there and play by myself at the moment because I miss football that much. I just want to play. I can't kick a ball right now. You have just got to work hard to get back on the pitch. You do get down, but it's not a girls' game.

"I've had some great times in football but now I'm going through a rougher time. I had played a few games and maybe my body was just telling me I needed a rest."

Kewell's last game for Liverpool was last season's dramatic FA Cup final win over West Ham, when he went off injured in the second half.

In his absence Liverpool made an indifferent start to the season but hit a fine run of form in the autumn to move up to third in the Barclays Premiership. Kewell added: "I think we've been a bit unfortunate in some of the away games, because the majority of the time we've played teams off the park. Sometimes the ball just doesn't go in the net. These things come though, and I'm sure we are stepping forward now."

One player to have benefited from Kewell's lay-off is the Chilean winger Mark Gonzalez, who has been given a chance in his favoured left-sided position. Gonzalez finally arrived at Anfield in the summer after spending last season on loan due to work permit problems, and Kewell has been impressed by him.

He said: "He is a great player, and the manager would not have bought him if he wasn't. It is his first year in the Premiership and that is always a difficult time to cope with and adjust to, but he is capable of scaring a lot of English defences. Fair play to him, I hope he plays as well as he is capable of doing."