Abou Diaby is unlikely to look back on the 2011/12 season with any great fondness in future years after injury restricted him to just five first-team appearances.
The France international worked tirelessly over the course of the campaign to prove his fitness, but a series of setbacks ensured he could not make the impact he would have liked.
After missing the start of the season with an ankle injury, the 26-year -old made substitute appearances against Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and Fulham in the Premier League, before succumbing to injury again. He made his comeback in March at Liverpool, but lasted just 28 minutes. He then made two appearances in a week at the end of April, but a calf problem ended his season prematurely.
It has been a challenging campaign for the talented midfielder, but hopes are high that he will put his injury problems behind him and prove his quality next term.
“Football itself has motivated me because it's the thing that I love. There is also my family and team-mates, manager, medical staff - they have all helped me. It is a big motivation for me that the boss said about me [being a “massive” player]. I want to be thankful to him and show him that he is right.”
Abou proved his quality with an accomplished display for the Reserves at Liverpool in March, scoring the equaliser for Neil Banfield’s side in a 1-1 draw. His range of passing and all-round energetic display helped guide his more inexperienced team-mates.
Abou Diaby on the comeback trail