Aurelio vows to put the hours in

While the squad are due back for pre-season training in early July,

Aurelio plans to return to work much earlier to get his fitness

levels up. The 31-year-old has struggled with injuries during his

five-year stay at Anfield and was released by Rafael Benitez at the

end of his contract last summer before Roy Hodgson decided to bring

him back at the start of the season. It was a decision which did

not pay off as the defender managed only 21 matches in another

season disrupted by injuries. However, Aurelio hopes that the extra

work he will do over the summer – he is remaining on Merseyside as

his wife is expecting a baby next month – and a full pre-season

programme, he help him in the final year of his contract. “I

expected to be more available once again but it was good to finish

with a 90-minute game (at Aston Villa on Sunday),” he said. “That

will bring my confidence up to work hard in the summer and be well

prepared in pre-season so next season will be better. “I have to

prepare myself better than the normal work they give to the whole

squad. “I will do something more and as my wife is due to have a

baby it will be a good time to prepare myself, using the Liverpool

facilities and looking forward to the summer and pre-season. “My

hope is to be available more than I was this season and if I can do

that I will have a chance to have more minutes.” Kenny Dalglish is

likely to want a new left-back this summer after being forced to

use Glen Johnson in that position for much of his time in charge,

but Aurelio is not worried by any potential extra competition. “It

is always good that the club try to keep the squad as strong as

possible and it (the prospect of new signings) is welcome for the

good of the team,” he added. “My worries are in myself in being fit

and available because I believe I have the ability to fight for a

place in the team.” The absence of European competition for the

first time in 11 years will be of help in some respects as

Liverpool will play fewer than the 54 fixtures they had this

season. And with Dalglish set for his first full year back in

control, the prospects are much better than they were 12 months

ago. “It was a disappointing end to the season to finish with two

defeats (against Tottenham and Aston Villa),” said Aurelio. “But

looking back to the position we were in when Kenny took over (12th)

I think the team has improved and had a good campaign, even though

it is not the one everyone expected. “The hopes will be higher for

next season and I think everyone is looking forward to it. “We can

put our strength and concentration on the league.”