Jon Flanagan is closing in on a return to fitness and is ready to challenge Liverpool’s summer signings for a position in Brendan Rodgers' starting line-up.

A knee problem has meant the defender hasn't figured since the pre-season friendly at Preston North End on July 19.

Since then, full-backs Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno have been added to the ranks at Anfield, but after a watershed 2013-14 season, Flanagan is ready to show what he can do once again.

"A massive club like Liverpool are always going to sign top players," he said.

"Moreno and Manquillo play in my position but that will just make me work harder.

"Having good players around you pushes you on.

"Hopefully I'll get back in the team. Things went well for me last season and I want to build on that."

Flanagan made 25 appearances in total last term after being handed a start against Arsenal at the Emirates on November 2.

His outstanding form resulted in a place in England's preliminary World Cup squad and a first cap for his country.

Flanagan reflected: "I just kept my head down, worked hard and finally I got a chance.

"Last season couldn't have gone any better for me. Playing for England was another great experience. I didn't expect to get on. It was an amazing way for the season to finish."

One of Flanagan's finest moments of the campaign came during Liverpool's trip to Tottenham Hotspur.

The Scouser capped a magnificent team performance by netting his first senior goal in a 5-0 win at White Hart Lane.

"That was a special moment for me," he said. "Team wise, everything clicked on the day and to get a goal was just a brilliant feeling.

"I'm just gutted I won't be involved there this season.

"Spurs look strong and will be looking to get back in the Champions League places this season.

"But Sunday is the chance for us to go there and put a marker down by getting the three points."

While Flanagan won't be involved in north London, one man who will be hoping to make his Liverpool debut is new signing Mario Balotelli.

The Italian wrapped up his transfer from AC Milan on Monday and joined Flanagan and Adam Lallana in making the trip to the Etihad Stadium later that day as the Reds took on Manchester City.

Flanagan said: "Mario is a good lad. I travelled down to the game with him and he seems a nice guy.

"We all hope he will do well for us. I think he's going to a big success here. He's a big lad, he's strong and he's a goal scorer.

"The mood in the squad is still good. There were a lot of positives we could take from the City game.

"We were disappointed we didn't get anything out of it but the lads will be ready for Spurs."

Meanwhile, Flanagan has revealed he is confident of committing his long-term future to Liverpool in the not too distant future.

"There have been some talks and I should be signing a new contract soon," he explained.

"It would be reward for all the hard work I've put in. It would be great for me and great for my family as well.

"All I've ever wanted is to play for Liverpool and I want to stay here for as long as I possibly can."