Liverpool’s Estonian centre-back signing Ragnar Klavan is delighted to be at the club, and will do everything he can to prove to Jurgen Klopp he’s more than a backup.
We captured the 30-year-old from Augsburg, which came as a huge surprise to most fans who hadn’t heard much about him.
Klopp though assured supporters that Klavan was his first-choice target, and the only centre-back he wanted to sign after capturing Joel Matip on a Bosman and offloading Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure.
“I’m settling in nicely,” Klavan told the ECHO after a training session stateside.
“The squad and the whole club are so friendly. It’s a family club and I’m happy to be here.
“Everything has happened pretty fast. It was a couple of weeks ago when I first spoke with Klopp.
“We had a good talk and then things started moving. It was an easy decision for me.
“This is a big club so wherever you go at this level you are going to face a fight to secure a place in the team. But I’m ready for that.
“In fact that competition helps everyone because you have to give your best in training every day.”
Klavan has to battle with Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho and Joel Matip for a starting spot at the heart of our defence, but with the latter two currently injured – he’ll get a chance in the coming matches to show Klopp what he can do first hand.
Sakho isn’t expected to be fit for the beginning of the campaign, so it’s a possibility that Klavan will start the season away to Arsenal – especially if Matip’s foot problems don’t get fixed soon.
As well as discussing his own plans, Klavan lauded three fellow Bundesliga arrivals – Loris Karius, Alex Manninger and Schalke’s ex-skipper Matip.
His quotes on Manninger are especially interesting and perhaps indicate the 39-year-old was brought in as an example to the squad of professionalism more than anything.
“Both Loris and Joel were one of their best in their positions in the Germany last season,” he added.
“I am really happy to see them here because they have a lot of quality and they’re good guys.
“As for Alex, everybody knows he’s 39 and the kind of role he will have at the club.
“He’s a true professional. Last season when he was second choice at Augsburg he was still the most professional player in the squad.
“He would always be the first one in for training and the last one to leave. That was over the entire season.
“It’s nice to have him on the training field and also in the locker room. He’s a great example to the young lads.”