Liverpool midfielder Mohamed Sissoko insists he could yet return to action this season despite nursing a serious eye injury that left him worrying whether his career was over.
The Malian star damaged his retina in a clash with Benfica midfielder Beto and may never recover full vision, although Sissoko is ready to defy initial predictions that he will miss the rest of the campaign.
The 21-year-old is still suffering from blurred vision after undergoing treatment in Portugal following the UEFA Champions league defeat, but still hopes to return for the climax of the season to aid Liverpool's cup quests.
"This has all come at such a bad time for me," Sissoko told the club's official website.
"I feel I have been playing some of my best football and really settling into the English way, but I've promised myself I will play again before the end of May.
"Maybe the FA Cup or Champions League final will be the game when I return."
Sissoko also revealed the full horror of the injury that could have ended his career, insisting he reached 'rock bottom' after learning of the damage.
"It was the scariest moment of my life," Sissoko added.
"The doctor in Lisbon told me there was a serious risk I would lose the vision in my right eye.
"Suddenly I had all these thoughts swimming around my mind and I asked myself 'Is this the end of my career?'
"My morale was at rock bottom. I had severe headaches and the pain was unbearable. I couldn't deal with being in a situation where you didn't have any answers. I didn't know if everything in my life was about to crumble.
"As soon as we got back, the club organised a visit to a specialist. He told me the injury wasn't as bad as I had dreaded and that was like a massive weight being lifted from me.
"I saw the surgeon again this week and he's optimistic I will recover normal eyesight but he also says it may never get back up to 100 percent. Of course, that is not so good but the outlook is better than I first thought.
"It's going to be frustrating for me with the Benfica game coming up but there isn't a lot I can do and there are no plans for an operation.
"I have to take at least two months off because, although I can open the eye, I am suffering from blurred vision. That will get a little better as each day passes.
"Our manager Rafa Benitez has suggested I go away and have a bit of a holiday because I think he knows how hard it will be for me to hang around the club and not be able to contribute."
The Reds also enjoyed more good news on the injury front on Sunday as it has been confirmed that defender Sami Hyypia will be fit for the return leg against Benfica as Liverpool aim to overturn a 1-0 deficit.
The Finnish international had to be removed at half-time of the 0-0 draw with Charlton on Saturday but scans have revealed the hamstring injury he sustained is not serious.
"The scan did not show up anything serious and Sami will be fit to train with the rest of the squad on Tuesday," club spokesman Ian Cotton told the club's official website.