Dejan Lovren refused to talk about the possibility of Virgil van Dijk joining Liverpool, instead preferring to focus on how the Red’s can improve in 2017/18.

Dejan Lovren isn’t looking to give up his consistent place in Liverpool’s starting XI anytime soon, even if the Reds do manage to sign Southampton centre back Virgil van Dijk.

The Croatian started 29 games last Premier League campaign, with injuries and illness limiting his game time more than he’d have liked and the defender is hoping to establish a consistent partnership with Cameroonian Joël Matip this season.

When asked about the possibility of further competition from van Dijk, he said: “I can’t talk about that. I am just concentrating on Liverpool and my fitness. I think the biggest thing is to improve my fitness. It is pre-season but the most important thing is to be free of injuries. I want to be 100%.”

“I just need some consistency. Last season something happened like an injury or illness and then it was two steps back and I needed a good run to be back in shape so I am preparing myself as best I can.

“I have said many times I am very proud Liverpool believe in me and they have given me a chance to work here. It is a pleasure to be with such a talented squad.”

Lovren returned to first-team action against Wigan on Friday in the Reds 1-1 draw and couldn’t help but be impressed by new teammates Mohamed Salah and Dominic Solanke, both of whom he believes will improve the squad.

“Mané had his injury and we missed him,” he explained.

“We saw (Salah on Friday) and we will see more of his qualities. He needs more time as he’s only had six days with us and everything is completely new.. I think he will be perfect in this system.

“I think they (Salah and Solanke) have their qualities and Jürgen knows what he needs and what the team needs to improve. I think he made a good choice. These guys work really hard on the pitch and in training so it is always good to welcome such players like these.

“Quality players are always welcome but we have other players like Mane, Phil so I think it will be a difficult job to get in the first XI with so many good players.”

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