Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren admits he struggles to be patient when he is left out of the team but is determined to rise to the challenge.
The Croatia international, a World Cup runner-up in 2018, has made just three 90-minute appearances so far this season across the Champions League, Premier League and Carabao Cup.
Last season he made just six starts from January having lost his place to Joel Matip and he ended the campaign as fourth-choice centre-back.
The exit door appeared to have opened for the 30-year-old but while there was plenty of speculation about him leaving in the summer, particularly after Jurgen Klopp signed highly-rated teenage defender Sepp Van Den Berg, Lovren made the decision to stay and fight for his place.
“That is part of the job, to work hard behind the scenes even if you don’t get a chance,” he said.
“I always believed in myself and giving 100 per cent on the training ground. The boss sees it and in the end it is his decision who plays or not. I am a fighter.
“The key point is to be patient. There are players who are patient and there are players who are not patient…I am struggling. It is part of the game and you need to accept it.
“You are fighting with yourself and your character and it is not good to have sometimes this part of the game where you think ‘OK, I am easy (comfortable) inside’.
“It doesn’t work like that. It is always about fighting and the fighting spirit.”
Lovren has come through a number of difficult spells at the club and always bounced back stronger.
Tottenham visit Anfield on Sunday and the Croatian could start back-to-back matches for the club for the first time in 10 months if Matip does not recover from a minor knee problem.
And that is the reward for deciding to stay on.
“The transfer window time is now over. I will always be here if I am needed,” he added.
“I am giving more than 100 per cent for this club from day one. There are good days and bad days but six years is quite a long time. Everything, at the moment, is fine. Let’s see what will happen.
“It was a challenge for me this summer to stay here but I gave everything in pre-season and I fought.
” In the end I stayed and I am quite happy.”
Liverpool and Tottenham have gone on vastly different paths since Klopp’s side beat the Londoners in June’s Champions League final.
However, the Reds boss will not underestimate Sunday’s opponents despite them winning just three Premier League games this season.
“Yes, you should not be surprised I see it like that. I have no idea what happens there but football is like this, from time to time things don’t work out,” Klopp said.
“It’s not like they forgot how to play football; if Harry Kane didn’t know it any more he showed in the (midweek Champions League against Red Star Belgrade) game how good he could be.
“You cannot understand it from outside but they are always able to put a proper performance on the pitch.
“We won the Champions League final, we know that, but I think we were very respectful with the celebrations.
“But that, of course, is another additional motivation (for Spurs) to put things right.
“The situation around (the club) will not make a massive difference. They will not play like a team with how many points they have.”
Stay updated with the latest news, gossip and football stories by following us @Football_P