Liverpool defence improving says Martin Kelly

Liverpool full-back Martin Kelly believes the work they have done on the defensive side of the game will help shore up what has been a weak spot this season.

Goalkeeper Jose Reina has almost always been in the running for the Barclays Premier League Golden Glove for most clean sheets and has won the award three times.

However, the 2-0 win in last weekend's Merseyside derby was only the second shut-out of the season - the first also coming against 10 men when the Reds won at Arsenal.

Even League One strugglers Exeter managed to breach the defences in the Carling Cup in August but Kelly hopes the team can now move forward with a bit more confidence.

"We've been working hard in training as a defensive unit," he said.

"We've been trying to get the right balance between attacking and defending so that when we lose the ball we're not too open.

"We did that well against Everton. We're all made up with the clean sheet and now we want to keep more of them."

Kelly is currently with the England Under-21 squad as they prepare for their Euro 2013 qualifiers in Iceland on Thursday and Norway on Monday.

Club-mates John Flanagan - called up from the under-19s - Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey are also in the squad.

Shelvey moved to Blackpool on loan last week and scored on his debut in the 5-0 win over Bristol City.

Reds manager Kenny Dalglish has reassured the 19-year-old about his future at Anfield and believes giving the teenager exposure in the npower Championship will be of great benefit to the player and, in time, Liverpool.

"It's helpful to everybody. Jonjo's a very promising player for us but the difficulty for us is to get him a game," Dalglish told liverpoolfc.tv.

"He needs games and it's a fantastic opportunity for Jonjo to do that.

"It's educational for us because we'll get to see him play and it'll also be educational for Jonjo because he's playing at a good level with a good club.

"It is important for us to use as many opportunities as we can to develop the players and if we can't give them games here then we've got to look to get them playing somewhere else.

"It's a chance for Jonjo to develop and push harder for a first-team spot here.

"We've put him out because we want him educated and to see him develop, not because we want to see him go. It's purely progress for him."

Seven players are currently out on loan - the most high-profile being Joe Cole at Lille and Alberto Aquilani at AC Milan.

"They're not forgotten. We keep monitoring them so we know where we're going," Dalglish added.

"For Alberto it's an opportunity for him to go back home and if he does well then they'll purchase him.

"For Joe Cole it was a fantastic opportunity for him to go and play Champions League football and also in France, which is a league that I think will suit Joe down to the ground and he's done really well since he's gone there."

PA

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