When Tiago Ilori says, "I want to play for Liverpool," it's a statement that I can fully sympathize with. I wake up most mornings thinking the same thing despite being 32, out of shape, and having not so much as kicked a ball in a few months.
Although Ilori has been on the periphery looking in for the last two years, he is still targeting a first team breakthrough according to his interview with The Echo last night after the Mini-Derby.
"I want to play for Liverpool," said Ilori, "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.
"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.
"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."
Ilori, now 22, spent the last two seasons out on loan, and not terribly successful ones at that. Last year with Bordeaux he made all of 12 appearances, and 9 appearances the year before with Granada.
However, Ilori put in some solid performances for Portugal this summer, helping them to the U-21 European Championship final before an unfortunate injury setback:
"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."
In last night's match, Ilori came off at halftime as a planned substitution due to his on-going recovery process.
"It was always the idea just to play the first half. I haven't played for two months so they want to take things slow but I'm a step closer to being 100%."
With several defensive players rumored to be for sale, one would think both the club and player would like to keep the young Portuguese defender around this season, but according to U-21 manager Michael Beale both Ilori and Joao Carlos Teixiera could be headed out on loan again:
"Tiago and Joaoa have not played for the U21s in two seasons now, they're very much seen as senior first team members of squad. They needed tonight for minutes, fitness and exposure and I thought both boys acquitted themselves well.
"Obviously Tiago has been away and had an experience outside of England and we're hoping he'll get another loan in the coming weeks alongside Joao."
Well, if loans are indeed in the cards for Ilori and Teixiera, we can hope they are more in the mold of Jordon Ibe's experience from last season, and not so many others before them who were ultimately destined for future obscurity.