Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has admitted his injury problem this year left him at the lowest ebb of his career.
Gerrard made his first start in seven months with a goalscoring return during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United having undergone surgery on his troublesome groin in March. The 31-year-old had initially been expected to be back for the start of the current campaign but he suffered a setback in July when he was admitted to hospital with an infection related to the groin injury.
Speaking about the injury, Gerrard told several national newspapers: "When I got the injury I knew it was going to be a serious one, something I wasn't used to. I had to try to be positive but I will admit that I was down."
He added: "There were times when I was as low as I've ever been as a footballer.
"I think it's only natural that you have doubts and different things do cross your mind from time to time."
The England midfielder added: "Before the operation I'd been getting niggles and having injections to play. Basically, I knew that wasn't right.
"I was missing training sessions and coming in the day before a game trying to get that last session in or having injections to play the next day.
"You can only do that for a certain amount of time before your body gives in - and mine gave in.
"My groin packed in on me and when it happened I was down and I was low.
"When it happened it took time before I got back into a positive frame of mind. Without doubt the last six months have been the hardest of my career."