Liverpool defender Tiago Ilori wants to remain at the club and fight for his place, despite being lined up for a loan move for the 2015-16 season. After making his return from injury in the 3-3 draw with Everton Under-21s, coach Michael Beale admitted the player could leave Anfield to gain more first team experience.
Since signing for the Reds in September 2013 from Sporting Lisbon, Ilori has been loaned out to Granada and Bordeaux in successive seasons. During the summer, Ilori starred for Portugal at the Under-21 European Championships as his country finished runners-up to Sweden, and he is now focused on making strides in his club career.
Ilori has never made a senior Liverpool appearance but, having been injured since the showcase tournament in the Czech Republic, played a 45-minute cameo against Everton's second string. Though Beale is keen for him and fellow Portugal youth international Joao Carlos Teixiera to enhance their football education away from the club, Ilori has other ideas.
"I haven't played for a few months so the most important thing for me was to get back into action," he told the Liverpool Echo. "It was frustrating to get injured but at the same time I hadn't had a holiday for two years and you need some time off, so it came at the right time.
"I want to play for Liverpool. I don't want to be in Liverpool just to be sitting around. My objective is the same as every other player, we all want to play so everyone's going to fight for their place."
The former Sporting Lisbon youngster added in a stern repost to questions over his future: "I joined Liverpool two seasons ago to play for Liverpool, that is my number one objective so I'm going to do everything to make that happen.
"Injury wise, I'm now 100%. I chose Liverpool over a few other teams a couple of years ago and it's always been my dream to play in the Premier League. To be at a club like this is a dream come true – the next step is playing for it. I just know that I need to carry on working."