(Reuters) - Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno started only eight games in all competitions last season but has already surpassed that number this campaign and the Spaniard says he is reaping the rewards of his hard work in pre-season.
Moreno joined Liverpool in 2014 and was a regular starter for the club until last season when poor form and costly errors led to him being dropped from Juergen Klopp's first team.
But the 25-year-old has been heavily involved this year, playing the full 90 minutes in eight league games and all four of Liverpool's Champions League group stage matches.
"I'm nearly at my best, but none of this comes without very hard work," he told British media. "Helping the side has its roots in the sacrifices you make, the hard work in pre-season and the battling to get back in contention.
"All that is because of my desire to be here at Liverpool, one of the best clubs in the world. Playing well leads to happiness on and off the field."
Media reports had linked Moreno with a move away from Liverpool in the transfer window but he has managed to hold down his place in the team despite the arrival of left back rival Andy Robertson for a reported 10 million pounds ($13 million).
Moreno is already looking forward to Liverpool's next Champions League game at Sevilla, his former club.
"I've only played in the group stages of the Champions League, so to get through to the next round would be really special, as I'm sure it would be for everyone here," he said.
Liverpool, who play West Ham United in the league on Saturday, have a one-point lead at the top of Group E and are on the verge of progressing to the last 16 for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
(Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)