Andy Robertson has spoken out for the first time about Kostas Tsimikas, the man who plans to challenge him for the left-back slot at Liverpool.
Robertson has been an integral part of Jurgen Klopp’s team since signing from Hull in 2017.
He’s developed into one of the game’s best left-back and helped Liverpool end their 30-year wait for Premier League title glory last season.
But the Reds have had to improvise whenever the Scot has been unavailable or needed resting.
James Milner has acted as a stand-in, with youngster Neco Williams also switching across despite preferring to play at right-back. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have also temporarily plugged the hole.
But the lack of genuine cover has been a pressing issue for Jurgen Klopp. And the Reds acted in the summer when landing Tsimikas in a £12m deal from Olympiacos.
Robertson now has some proper competition and admits he’s impressed by the Greek youngster.
Speaking on Liverpool’s official website, Robertson said: “He’s settled in very well.
“You can see him growing in confidence as a player and as a person in the squad and I think that’s credit to all the lads and all the staff.
‘Look, we’ve all been there, we all know how daunting it is walking into a new changing room and not knowing anyone and things like that.
“But I think we all know how that feels and we’re all very cautious of that so we try to make people feel as welcome as they can and as quickly as they can because the quicker you get the person out of his shell, the quicker you get the player out of his shell.
“I think that’s what’s happened. I’ve seen him in training and he looks a really good player.”
Robertson determined to stay top dog
Despite the friendly welcome for Tsimikas, Robertson still wants to make the left-back spot his own.
“For me personally, he’s obviously in my position and I want to stay the number one left-back,” said the 26-year-old.
“I want to play as many games as I can, to stay fit, to keep my levels high and I want to be playing every game.
“I know that’s not always possible but that’s my attitude going into it and it’s up to me to keep putting in performances and hopefully stay number one left-back.
“That’s my aim [and] I’m sure he has similar aims but we need competition all over the park.
“We have competition in every place and it’s up to the lads that get the starting jersey to keep it and that’s certainly going to be my aim.
“It’s my objective to do that and hopefully I can do that. I’ve had probably two-and-a-half seasons here which have been incredible and I feel as if I’ve played well and I’ve grown in stature and everything like that.
“But it’s about continuing that and I’ll try to continue to do that and hopefully have another successful season ahead of me.”
Robertson provided 12 assists from left-back as Liverpool won the title by an astonishing 18 points last season.