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Ilori Already Targeting Liverpool Return

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Only a few days into his Granada loan, Tiago Ilori is talking about his goals—and they don't involve staying in Andalusia for very long.

Chris Brunskill

So far, January has been a difficult month for Liverpool fans and something of a painful letdown after a strong first half to the season. Shaky performances have seen the club's claims on the top four grow increasingly tenuous, the manager continues to insist Steven Gerrard is a holding midfielder, Lucas Leiva will at least miss the derby, and nothing much is happening on the transfer front. At least when it comes to incomings.

Liverpool have made a few moves, loaning out fringe players and cutting Adam Morgan loose, but so far the only arrival that seems at all likely is at a position of relative depth—and that's assuming winger Mohamed Salah doesn't end up at Chelsea instead. All of which makes the future of those loanees even more important, with 20-year-old Portuguese defender Tiago Ilori the most promising of January's short-term departures.

Though far from happy with the lack of opportunities at Anfield, Ilori insists his long-term goals remain in England and that he is determined to use his Granada loan as a chance to gain experience and impress manager Brendan Rodgers in the hopes of making an impact back at Anfield next season. He even rather surprisingly admitted he doesn't see his spell in the south of Spain lasting very long when speaking to the press following his move.

"Liverpool are a great team, they have great players, and it's difficult to get a chance, but I hope I'll get to play more games next season," said Ilori. "At the start of the season I played some friendly games, then I couldn't get to play every week, but I'll be at 100% soon. I'm here to gain experience, get minutes, and become a much better player. Hopefully I can help Granada, and then next season, hopefully I can play at Liverpool."

In their third season back in La Liga after an absence of more than three decades, Granada are looking to establish themselves solidly in the Spanish top flight as they target a finish in the top half after flirting with relegation the past two campaigns. Currently facing something of an injury crisis at the back, there's even a slight chance Ilori could see the pitch on the weekend when they take on Real Madrid.