Liverpool midfielder Joe Allen returns to the squad this weekend knowing he has lost ground to make up.
The Wales international has not played since the Capital One Cup victory over Notts County on August 27 because of a hamstring injury.
A shoulder operation at the back end of last season means it was March the last time he started a league match and in the intervening period Lucas Leiva has returned to full fitness after knee surgery and Jordan Henderson has found form - making central midfield a congested area to be competing in.
Allen will be in the squad for the trip to Newcastle but it may be a while before he gets a chance to properly show what he has learned in his first 12 months at the club.
"There are a couple of slots in midfield where there is a lot of competition for it; my job now is to work as hard as I can to try to get one," he told LFC TV.
"When you sign for a club like Liverpool, that's the first thing you realise - you can't rest on any laurels.
"There are people who will fight for your place inside the club and also outside the club; there are so many people who want to join a massive club like this.
"The team's goal is an obvious one - Champions League football is what every supporter wants to see this club competing in.
"That's the goal for the team. For me, the big one is to get into the team and stay there, play consistently well and try to offer as much as I can to help the team get into those top places."
Allen's first season after his Â£15million move from Swansea did not go to plan and he often found himself playing a more defensive role than he would have liked.
He hopes to get the chance to show there is much more to his game.
"Last year didn't go as well as I'd hoped but there were certain games and moments when I did well and the key is to get that consistently," he added.
"Hopefully a year on I'm more experienced. I think I can get involved more in the creative side in assisting goals.
"If I had the chance to play further forward goals is something I'd like to add to my game.
"Back at Swansea I felt it was coming and last season it stopped a little bit and that is something I can offer looking forward."