REUTERS – Defender Dejan Lovren is keen to make the most of his first Premier League start under manager Juergen Klopp when Liverpool take on Manchester City on Saturday, with the Croat replacing injured centre back Mamadou Sakho.
Lovren kept Sakho out of the team at the beginning of the season under Klopp’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers, starting alongside Martin Skrtel in the first three games of the campaign, in which Liverpool kept consecutive clean sheets.
However, the Merseyside club conceded three goals in each of their next two games against West Ham United and Manchester United and Lovren was dropped by Rodgers for their next match against Bordeaux in the Europa League.
Struggling to get back into the side, Lovren has not started a Premier League game since Sept. 12, despite the change in managers last month.
In the meantime, Sakho has revelled in being restored to his natural position under Klopp after spending much of his Liverpool career struggling to get a consistent run in the team and often being deployed as a utility left back under Rodgers.
Liverpool’s only defeat in seven games under the German came against Crystal Palace on Nov. 8 after Sakho was withdrawn before halftime with a knee injury that also ruled him out of France’s friendly internationals against Germany and England.
“Mama (Sakho) had a really good couple of games and a good start to the season. We played in Rubin Kazan (in the Europa League) together and were feeling really good,” Lovren told the club’s website (www.liverpoolfc.com).
“But you never know in football… injuries can happen today or tomorrow. So you need to be prepared.
“It’s tough… the squad is not so big because we have so many injured players. I was working hard all the time so I’m ready and looking forward to playing,” he added.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)