Dejan Lovren admits he is “feeling more comfortable” at Liverpool now after a difficult debut season at Anfield.
The centre-back moved to Merseyside from Southampton in summer 2014 with the Croatian enduring a mixed season at the heart of Brendan Rodgers’ defence, where he made 38 appearances in all competitions.
Lovren believes his form has improved this term and credits a full pre-season with the Reds as the reason he feels more settled in.
“Last year I had a tough year,” he told the Liverpool website. “I didn’t do pre-season with the team and everything was such a rush.
“Everyone, all together, has started better than last year. It was important for me that I had a good pre-season with the team and I’m feeling more comfortable now.
“I know the expectations – I know a little bit more about the club and the feelings of the fans. When you do a pre-season outside the UK, you see what a great club and a big club it is.
“I’m proud to be here. Now my thing is to be here for as long as possible and to win something with the club.”
Lovren is ready to step into Jurgen Klopp’s defence on Saturday at Manchester City in place of the injured Mamadou Sakho.
The 26-year-old added: “Mama had a really good couple of games and a good start to the season. We played in Rubin Kazan together and were feeling really good.
“But you never know in football – injuries can happen today or tomorrow. So you need to be prepared. I was working hard all the time so I’m ready and looking forward to playing.”
Lovren accepts that the Reds will have to be wise as they seek to negotiate 10 matches before the end of 2015.
“Every three days there will be a game, so we need to be clever in our preparations,” he said
“We know we won’t have as much training during the week and hopefully not so many injuries also – which is important at this time.
“It’s tough – the squad is not so big because we have so many injured players. We need to be smart, we need to know how to rest and play smartly. We need to keep the ball.
“We know it will be tough, especially in December. You need to be clever about your body. It will be a good, cold and long winter!”