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Lovren ready to rise to Liverpool challenge

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has stressed he is ready to prove his worth in the absence of Mamadou Sakho.

Sakho is expected to be out of action for up to two months due to a knee injury he picked up in the loss against Crystal Palace, meaning Lovren is likely to return to the starting XI.

The 26-year-old Croatian lost his starting berth after sustaining an ankle injury earlier this season, but he is ready to go again.

"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," Lovren told Liverpool's official website.

"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 has received his fair share of criticism since joining Liverpool from Southampton in 2014 and he is determined to win over his doubters.

"Last year I had a tough year. I didn't do pre-season with the team and everything was such a rush," he added.

"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. 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."