Sunday 21 January 2018

Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan welcomes Virgil van Dijk competition

Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan has welcomed the competition Virgil van Dijk's arrival will bring
Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan has welcomed the competition Virgil van Dijk's arrival will bring

Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan has welcomed the arrival of Virgil van Dijk despite the fact the £75million signing is likely to reduce his own chances.

Klavan became the first Estonian to score in the Premier League with his header deep into added time securing a 2-1 win at Burnley.

However, while that may prove to be crucial in Liverpool's season it is unlikely to be of much help to the 32-year-old in the short-term with Van Dijk keen to get his Reds career under way after completing his move from Southampton on New Year's Day.

Klavan, a £4.2m buy from Augsburg in July 2016, is fourth-choice centre-back but he is not deterred by the big-money arrival.

"He is a good addition to our team. It is like it is for everyone: there is competition and competition is good for all places," he said.

Klavan was teed up for his goal by fellow centre-back Dejan Lovren as Liverpool came from behind to win for the second time in 48 hours.

It made it four wins in five matches and maintained their momentum heading into January, which 12 months ago was when their unlikely title bid stumbled as they won just once in nine matches - and that an FA Cup replay victory over League Two Plymouth.

What was just as significant was the win was achieved without injured top scorer Mohamed Salah or Philippe Coutinho, and Roberto Firmino playing just the last 18 minutes as a substitute having been rested.

"It was good. We kept on fighting and got three points," added Klavan, whose only other goal for the club came in a League Cup win last season.

"That's part of the game. Sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn't.

"Those were three really important points but I'm not really one who wants to shine in the light.

"It was a good moment for me and for the team to get the three points, which is what we came here for, and that's it for me."

Everton are next up in Friday's Merseyside derby home FA Cup third round tie, a month after their neighbours secured a 1-1 draw at Anfield with a controversial penalty.

Having dominated that game but ultimately been frustrated, Klavan feels they need to make sure this time around.

"It is always a special game," he said.

"It was a little bit unlucky with everything which happened around the game but we just keep on going.

"When we are at our best there is a great chance we will succeed."

Manager Jurgen Klopp made seven changes for the trip to Burnley as he continues to try to balance the demands of a busy schedule.

For that reason he accepts his side will not always be at their best but felt the display at Turf Moor proved they can still get the job done.

"You need to win your average games, you need to win with your attitude on your not 100 per cent best days," he said.

"Character-wise we were at 100 per cent, performance-wise I've seen us already better football playing... but who cares?"

Press Association

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