Fernando Morientes, the Liverpool striker, has said he still has plenty to offer the club despite struggling to make an impact in his 15 months at Anfield.
Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, is expected to overhaul his striking department in the summer, with Robbie Fowler unsure of a new contract and Morientes and Djibril Cissé's long-term futures in doubt.
But Morientes, who has scored only 11 goals in 55 appearances for Liverpool since signing for £6.3m from Real Madrid in January 2005, is intent on proving his critics wrong. He said: "I have not dodged a challenge anywhere in my career. I have a lot to offer this club, although I know I haven't played to my full level as often as I would have liked. But my best is coming."
Morientes has been linked with a move back to Spain with Espanyol and his Liverpool future will depend on who Benitez is able to bring in during the summer. But the Spanish striker, who also says he hopes Fowler wins his battle for a new long-term contract, clearly sees himself at Anfield for some time.
Morientes said: "It does not matter what you have achieved in the past, it is irrelevant. You always have something to prove. I have a four-year contract here and I will be running as hard in the last year of my contract as I did in the first year.
"I have seen people elsewhere who have played hard at the time of contract renewals and done enough to get what they wanted," he added. "Once they have the security of a long-term deal they ease off and don't perform the way they have previously.
"That happens sometimes but not at this club because the manager would not tolerate it.
"Whether you have a short-term contract like Robbie or a longer deal like the rest of us, you should always be giving everything to prove you are an asset. That has always been my philosophy."
Morientes admitted: "It took longer than expected to adapt to the physical demands of the English game. You do not get any time on the ball at all before someone is on top of you and snapping at your heels.
"It's very different to the way I had played before in my career, but now I have now adapted to it better I am really enjoying it. I certainly won't be dodging a challenge at Liverpool."
On Fowler's future, Morientes said: "I'm very aware of what Robbie has achieved in the past and from watching him work, train and play I know what he can achieve in the future. It's very important he gets a new contract.
"He's a real idol to the fans here and I think he's partly responsible for people going to the game almost with an extra spring in their step because they know they can expect something special from him.
"He's a top international goalscorer for England, he's been a top goalscorer for Liverpool and his career statistics speak for themselves. I hope he gets a new offer from the club because he's still a top player."
* Liverpool have resubmitted their plans for the new Stanley Park stadium development to Liverpool City Council, a move than is considered a technicality because two years have elapsed from the original planning agreement. A planning committee meeting next Tuesday is expected to confirm approval again.Reuse content