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Liverpool new boy Steven Caulker is ready to make his full debut for the visit of Manchester United despite having not made a Premier League start since August. The 24-year-old made a cameo appearance in the draw with Arsenal as an aerial attacking threat but is ready to slot into a more conventional defensive role if required on Sunday [17 January].
The England international played the last seven minutes, which included five minutes of added on time, of the game at Anfield in his first appearance since cutting short his season-long loan deal at Southampton and moving to Merseyside. Caulker comes in as cover for the Reds' defensive injury crisis which sees them without Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel.
During the first half of the campaign, Caulker made just one Premier League start for Southampton in the opening month of the season against Watford which was followed by appearances in the Capital One Cup. But despite seemingly being short of match fitness the Liverpool defender says he is ready for the visit of United if needed.
"Games don't come much bigger than that," he told Sky Sports. "Arsenal and United games are two very tough starts. If I get any game time on Sunday then I'm ready to go. I've been training hard this week, getting ideas of what the manager wants from his team and from his centre-halves.
"Points-wise the game isn't too far off the top four, it's quite a close league so as a derby it's a big game. I know the history behind the game and I've been told about the game by all the fans I've seen. There is a big buzz around the city and hopefully we get three points."
Caulker's arrival at Liverpool sees him play for his eighth different club 11 months before he turns 25, while the agreement is also the fifth loan spell of his career. Caulker admits he now wants to settle down at one club and is looking forward to the opportunity under Jurgen Klopp.
"I've been a bit of a journeyman so far," he added. "I've had a lot of loan spells when I was breaking through at Tottenham to gain the experience. Then I decided to move to Cardiff from there and, on reflection, I could have been a bit more patient but I felt I wanted to play games and took the decision to go to Cardiff.
"I enjoyed my time there but unfortunately it didn't quite work out with us obviously getting relegated. I'd love to settle down now and find a club where I'm playing my best football and one I feel welcome at. So far this club [Liverpool] has made me feel very welcome."