Aurelio vows to put the hours in

Published May. 24, 2011 3:15 p.m. ET

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."