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Revitalised Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno eyes Spain World Cup place

Liverpool left-back Alberto Moreno said his summer decision to "make a bigger effort and be more consistent" had paid off and he was targeting a World Cup place after returning to the Spain squad.

Moreno barely featured for Liverpool last season, playing only 295 Premier League minutes, but has made 15 appearances this season.

And as he prepared for Spain's friendlies against Costa Rica in Malaga on Saturday and Russia in Saint Petersburg next Tuesday, he told a news conference: "Last season was bad for me. I didn't play, I believe it was the coach's decision.

"I said to myself: 'Alberto, make a bigger effort, be more consistent.' In the end, I did a good preseason and won [Jurgen] Klopp's confidence.

"I am playing all the games now, and at a good level. I am here now, and with the World Cup so close why not dream?"

Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez told the news conference: "I've great players here to learn from and a great coach [Julen Lopetegui] who has always given me opportunities to play.

"I can play wherever the manager trusts me. Left-back, or wherever, always trying to do my best.

"Here I usually play as a defensive midfielder, which is easier. I am lucky to be here learning from [Sergio] Busquets, one of the best in the world in this position."

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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