Ozan Kabak believes he has learnt quickly at Liverpool after arriving from Schalke in January and making a nightmare debut at Leicester.
Kabak signed on loan from the Bundesliga side in January to plug a big hole at the back. The 21-year-old has plenty of experience, but still felt he needed to step up at Anfield. With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all injured Jurgen Klopp had to pin his hopes on Kabak and he has not disappointed.
However, things did not get off to a great start after his debut at Leicester. He was put into the team after making the bench against Man City, but after a solid 75 minutes things went horribly wrong.
Mo Salah’s goal had Liverpool ahead, but Leicester scored three times in the last 12 minutes to blow Jurgen Klopp’s men away.
A miscommunication between Kabak and goalkeeper Alisson saw Leicester take the lead and, they went on to win 3-1.
“Until the 75th minute everything went well,” said Kabak. “Unfortunate things, it’s football and that can happen. It happened.
“But in my opinion, in football, whatever happened you need to forget it and you need to keep going and keep going. You need to forget the past.
“That’s exactly what I did – I forgot the moment and I try to give my best in this game and after this game.
“But, to be honest, I felt really, really sad. But my team-mates, manager, everyone supported me and I appreciated it.
“It was not easy, of course. I came directly into the team and I needed to give something to the team and to help the team. At the same time, I need to get used to the city and the language – everything was new.
“For a [then] 20-year-old lad, it’s not easy but I think I did a good job and I just concentrate on football.”
Kabak, who looks likely to be handed a permanent deal, thinks he has settled in quickly. He believes the added scrutiny of playing for a team like Liverpool has helped him.
“Yeah, I’m quite experienced,” he told Liverpoolfc.com. “Champions League, Bundesliga and then Premier League, I had to grow up quick.
“At that age, 18 years old, playing in the Champions League and for Galatasaray – like Liverpool – we had to win every game. There’s a lot of fans and you need to make them happy every week. They expect a lot from you, so this makes you an adult much quicker. That’s exactly what I did at the time.
Kabak on Van Dijk advice
“For a young lad, I’ve benefited a lot because obviously playing games helps you to settle into new places or a new league.
“That’s why I think adaptation was not that hard for me. I mean, I settled in easier than someone else maybe would.”
The centre-back has also revealed he takes all the advice he can get from Van Dijk, as well as the club’s analysis department.
“He [Van Dijk] gave me small tips about our football mentality,” Kabak added. “I think defenders understand each other better and he came with some small tips about how we play or what I need to do. It helps [my] game.
“I analyse every striker before the game with the video analysis. I ask the guys who work in here [for] their videos and I work on it.
“Before the game I know which foot is stronger and what the abilities are of this striker. It helps me a lot because then it’s easier to guess his next movements.”