Lovren Returns For Liverpool, Porto Champions League Clash

Lovren Returns For Liverpool, Porto Champions League Clash
Porto’s Malian striker Moussa Marega (C) shoots past Liverpool’s Croatian defender Dejan Lovren (L) but has this shot saved during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg football match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, north-west England on April 9, 2019. Paul ELLIS / AFP


Dejan Lovren will make his first Liverpool start sine early January as Jurgen Klopp made three changes for his side’s Champions League quarter-final, first leg at home to Porto on Tuesday.

Croatian centre-back Lovren returns at the expense of Joel Matip, while James Milner deputises for the suspended Andy Robertson at left-back.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is also rewarded with a recall to the starting XI after coming off the bench to score in a 3-1 win at Southampton on Friday, with Georginio Wijnaldum dropping out.

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Porto are also without two of their most experienced players through suspension as three-time Champions League winner Pepe and Mexican international midfielder Hector Herrera miss out.

Maxi Pereira and Danilo come into the side that beat Roma 3-1 after extra time in the last 16 to progress to the quarter-finals 4-3 on aggregate.

Liverpool (4-3-3)

Alisson Becker; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, James Milner; Fabinho, Naby Keita, Jordan Henderson (capt); Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane

Coach: Jurgen Klopp (GER)

Porto (4-4-2)

Iker Casillas; Maxi Pereira, Eder Militao, Felipe, Alex Telles; Otavio, Danilo (capt), Oliver Torres, Jesus Corona; Francisco Soares, Moussa Marega

Coach: Sergio Conceicao (POR)

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP)


Croatia Court Clears Lovren Of Perjury Charges

Croatia’s defender Dejan Lovren celebrates after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.


A Croatian court said on Monday it had dropped perjury charges against Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, who was accused of giving false testimony in a major football-related corruption trial.

Lovren, 29, was charged in September with committing perjury over his testimony at the 2017 trial of former Dinamo Zagreb boss Zdravko Mamic, who is accused of multi-million-euro graft.

The player had provided details about his 2010 transfer from Dinamo to French side Lyon.

But the Zagreb municipal court “on January 25 rejected the indictment … against Lovren,” a tribunal statement said without elaborating.

The ruling can be appealed, it added.

In December the court dropped similar charges against Real Madrid’s Croatian superstar Luka Modric.

Mamic, considered the kingpin of the Balkan state’s football scene, was sentenced in June to six-and-a-half years in prison over multi-million-euro corruption.

He fled the country and is hiding in neighbouring Bosnia.

Mamic was accused of embezzling cash through fictitious deals related to player transfers, notably those of Lovren and Croatia’s captain Modric to Tottenham.

Like Modric, who won the 2018 Golden Ball, Lovren was part of the Croatian national team that finished runners-up in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Croatia lost to France in the finals but the small nation was overjoyed by its historic run, which temporarily quieted anguish over corruption and other problems plaguing the sport.


Mental Strength Carried Croatia To World Cup Final, Says Lovren

Croatia’s defender Dejan Lovren celebrates after winning the Russia 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between Croatia and England at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on July 11, 2018.


Croatia have relied on mental strength to defy limited resources and become the smallest nation in 68 years to reach a World Cup final, said defender Dejan Lovren.

Zlatko Dalic’s men have taken the long road to a meeting with France in Moscow on Sunday after three lots of extra-time and two penalty shootouts in the knockout phase to squeeze past Denmark, Russia and England.

Born to Croatian parents in the Bosnian city of Zenica, Lovren was forced to flee to Germany at just three years old when the Bosnian War broke out in 1992.

His family eventually settled back in Croatia and the Liverpool defender believes a tough upbringing and fierce desire to make the nation of just over four million people proud are key motivating factors.

“I think it is our mentality. We went through again a lot… wars, all these things, and even now the situation is not the best. But it is unbelievable how many talents we have in sports,” Lovren told reporters after Croatia ended England’s World Cup dreams with a 2-1 semi-final win.

“We knew we could write history and we did it. Now there is only one game left to make it forever.”

Lovren and his teammates have already gone further than Croatia ever have before at a World Cup but can become legends if they gain revenge for France’s semi-final victory in the 1998 World Cup.

French right-back Lillian Thuram scored his only two goals in a storied 142-cap international career in that semi-final 20 years ago.

“I think now in many years people will remember us, not the ’98 team. This is what I wanted, this is why I’m proud and I deserve this,” added Lovren.

“I was only nine. I remember my mum was screaming and she was crying after the France game. People were talking about Lillian Thuram, where did he come from? Maybe it is our time for revenge.”

Having seen off Argentina, Uruguay, and Belgium in 90 minutes and had an extra day’s rest following their semi-final on Tuesday, France will be heavy favourites to make amends for defeat to Portugal on home soil in the final of Euro 2016 on Sunday.

However, Croatia have grown used to beating the odds and will relish the role of underdogs once more.

“France are definitely the favourites, there is no hiding from that, but we like that,” added Lovren. “We like to be the underdogs from day one.

“Without being arrogant. I think if you are in the final, you are the two best teams in the world.”


Conte Demands Focus After Chelsea’s Loss To Liverpool

Antonio Conte, Chelsea, LiverpoolChelsea manager, Antonio Conte, has called on his team to learn valuable lessons from their defeat to Liverpool in the English Premier League.

The defeat was Conte’s first since taking charge of the Blues and the former Juventus boss was disappointed with the two goals his side conceded.

He asked them to pay attention to details if they want to think like a great team.

Liverpool centre-back, Dejan Lovren, feels The Reds have become fully accustomed to the ‘tactical blueprint’ of their coach, Jurgen Klopp, for trips to the homes of their rivals.

Since Klopp’s arrival at Anfield in October, Liverpool have returned unbeaten in six league visits to Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City.

They also claimed a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in last season’s Europa League last-16 second leg, following a 2-0 first-leg win at Anfield.

“We know what we need to do when we come to away games, especially against big teams like Chelsea.

“We are a team who wants to play, who wants to win – we are not a team who will defend deep and await our chances,” 27-year-old Lovren told Liverpool website.

Chelsea had lost 1-2 to Liverpool in a premier league cracker-match on Friday at the Stamford Bridge.

The much talked about game started with both teams hoping to pick at least a point but Liverpool emerged winners after a perfect first half performance saw them race into a 2-goal lead that Chelsea could not recover from.

Klopp May Go Shopping Because Of Injuries

liverpool-kloppLiverpool boss, Jurgen Klopp, admits the club’s worsening injury situation in central defence may force him to go shopping in the January transfer market.

Liverpool defeated Stoke 1-0 in their Capital One Cup semi-final first leg at the Britannia on Tuesday but the victory came at a cost as Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure all suffered injuries.

Coutinho limped off with a hamstring injury in the 18th minute, while Lovren left 10 minutes before half-time with a similar complaint.

With Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho also side lined, Klopp is now seriously thinking about bringing in options for the defence.