Kolo Toure claims he rejected a call-up from the Ivory Coast as he believed he needed more regular game time at club level first.
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Toure, who signed for Liverpool from Manchester City in the summer, has been recalled to the national team for the first leg of their World Cup play-off against Senegal on Saturday.
However, this comes after he turned down the chance to play for the The Elephants in several World Cup qualifiers earlier this year.
"They (national team officials) were calling me but I told them I had to prepare myself," said Toure.
"I had to take time and start playing again because when you don't play for your club it is very difficult to play for your national team.
"You need to be fit to play and I wasn't playing a lot for (Manchester) City but this is a new start for me now and I am playing for a great club. I have been working really hard and everyone in Ivory Coast has been waiting for me.
"When I was not playing they were talking but I knew what I was doing, I knew my qualities. I had to work, play and then go and help my national team. I hope my national team will go to the World Cup, which will be very important."
Toure's performances for Liverpool since his summer move have not gone unnoticed as Brendan Rodgers' side have enjoyed a good start to the season, sitting second in the league behind Arsenal only on goal difference. But even so Toure does not feel the Reds have played to their potential yet and fully believes they are good enough for a Champions League spot.
"The most important thing now is to take it game by game," he added.
"The season is long, every game is like a final for us. We don't look forward, we just look to the next game which is the most important.
"We have good players and a great mentality and are at a fantastic club.
"We just need to play well every week and give 100 per cent for our team-mates and the fans."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report.