LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard thought his career was over after enduring months of painkilling injections and rehabilitation.
Gerrard scored last Saturday on his first start for the Reds in six months in a 1-1 draw with bitter rivals Manchester United.
The Anfield legend admitted that he had never felt as low as a footballer as he struggled to regain his fitness.
"It's only natural that you have doubts," Gerrard said. "Different things cross your mind from time to time. When I got the injury I knew it was going to be a serious one, something that I wasn't used to. I'll admit that I was down, as low as I've ever been as a footballer.
"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 and my groin packed in on me.
"When it happened it took time before I got back into a positive frame of mind. Without a doubt the last six months have been the hardest of my career."
Gerrard also responded to comments made in Pepe Reina's autobiography in which the goalkeeper said he wanted the captain and Liverpool's other influential local player, Jamie Carragher, to speak out against the former regime of Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Despite his frustrations, Gerrard revealed that he did not do so out of respect for former boss Rafael Benitez.
"The only reason I didn't speak out was because Rafa Benitez didn't want me to," Gerrard said. "When a situation like that happens I don't think it's the players' responsibility to step in."
Kenny Dalglish, whose first spell as Liverpool manager coincided with the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, has praised those leading the campaign for justice for the 96 victims.
On Monday night, British MPs passed a motion calling for all documents relating to the disaster to be made public following powerful speeches from two ministers.
"Thanks to Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham for bringing so much hope to people who have suffered too long," Dalglish wrote on Twitter. "Steve and Andy have only one objective. Justice for the families."