Tiago Ilori to fight for starting spot

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Liverpool defender is ready to fight for his place in the first team after making a first Anfield appearance, albeit for the under 21's.

The 20-year-old was a transfer deadline day arrival from Sporting Lisbon as The Reds shelled out £7 million the land the Portuguese  youngster, who is also eligible for England. 

However, Ilori is still working on his fitness after missing most of the pre-season with a broken hand.

On top of that, there is tough competition in the centre-back department.

Kolo Toure, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and fellow signing Mamadou Sakho all stand in the way of a regular starting berth in Brendan Rodgers' side.

The Merseyside outfit have been impressive at the back this year, the 2-2 draw with Swansea was the first time they have conceded in the Premier League.

Their solidarity at the back mixed with the goals of Daniel Sturridge have propelled Liverpool to top of the table after four games.

Speaking after the under-21's win at Sunderland, Ilori told the Liverpool Echo: “I loved playing in the game and it was a great win,

“I hope I can carry on winning at Anfield. Every player wants to play whether it’s in the first team or the reserves.

“I want to get as many minutes as I can. I didn’t have a proper pre-season due to injuring my hand but it’s good to be back fit now. I’m enjoying it here. Brendan Rodgers seems like a great guy and a great coach. I will do my best for the club.

“This is the best league in the world and it has always been a dream of mine to come and play here,” he said.

“It’s never easy leaving the country you grew up in but it wasn’t that difficult because I knew I was doing what I wanted to do.

“That made it easier. I was aware of a couple of other clubs that were interested but the way Liverpool dealt with it and spoke with me made it an easier choice.

“The club’s history played a part but it was more about their approach and the way they dealt with me. I felt that this was the place to be.

“I don’t think I’m such a fighter like a typical centre-back, but I can be aggressive when I need to. I like to take the ball out. I’m quick as well.”

The Liverpool fans have been excited by the arrival as the pace Ilori eluded to saw him breaking sprinting records previously held by Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani in Portugal: “It’s true that they have speed tests at Sporting and in one of them I have the record,” Ilori added.

“Over 30 metres it’s something like three seconds. I learned a lot at Sporting. The biggest game I’ve ever played in was away to Benfica last season. It was in front of 62,000 people. We lost 2-0 but we really well and it was a great experience.”

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