Premier League

Dossena admits to bad start with Liverpool

Andrea Dossena says he is facing a battle to save his Liverpool career, only four months after arriving at Anfield in a £7m deal. Rafael Benítez had hoped Dossena would be the answer to his problems at left-back when he signed the 27-year-old from Udinese in July, having allowed John Arne Riise to join Roma and with Fabio Aurelio struggling for consistency. But Dossena was an unused substitute during Tuesday's Champions League game against Atlético Madrid, with Aurelio preferred to the Italian international.

Dossena has started seven of Liverpool's 11 Premier League games but he has yet to make the position his own - although he concedes that he expected to experience a little more insecurity when he joined the club.

"I am not fully happy with my level and, with Fabio in my position, the manager has the option of a player more in tune with the tactics of the team right now," he said. "Eighteen months ago I would not have expected to be playing for one of the most famous clubs in the world. I do not have silverware in my collection in my career but signing for Liverpool I have a real chance to win medals in every competition we enter.

"There are new demands on me. At Udinese my place in the team was more secure than it ever will be at Liverpool, where there is so much ability in the squad. I must now get to a high level and maintain that, but first I have to battle to win selection. I am learning all the time. I knew that coming to Liverpool and a new league would improve me as a player. "

Benítez has backed Diego Maradona's desire to make Javier Mascherano the captain of Argentina. Although the midfielder has yet to discuss the captaincy with his newly appointed national coach, Mascherano is expected to lead his country for the first time when they face Scotland in a friendly at Hampden Park on November 19.

"If someone says to you that you can be captain of England, Argentina or Spain it is a massive honour because they are big countries," said Benítez. "Mascherano has the character and mentality to be a captain. It is an important situation for anyone to captain their country."

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Dossena admits to bad start with Liverpool

This article was first published on at 00.01 GMT on Friday November 07 2008. It appeared in the Guardian on Friday November 07 2008 on p4 of the Sport news & features section. It was last updated at 01.37 GMT on Friday November 07 2008.

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Premier League

Pos Team Pld W D L Pts
1 Liverpool 16 11 4 1 37
2 Chelsea 16 11 3 2 36
3 Manchester United 15 9 4 2 31
4 Arsenal 16 9 2 5 29
5 Aston Villa 16 8 4 4 28
6 Hull City 16 7 5 4 26
7 Portsmouth 16 6 5 5 23

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