The international injury curse has struck again for Liverpool. But this time it’s not an English player in the treatment room. BBC
Summer signing Lovren sustained the abdominal injury when training with the Croatian national team. He will miss his country’s next two European qualification games.
Thanks to injuries when on international duty, club manager Brendan Rogers has already lost Joe Allen and Emre Can. The most high-profile case involved the crocked Daniel Sturridge, with Rogers claiming mis-management by the England staff. A potential club v country row was downplayed by England manager, Roy Hodgson, but regardless of nationality this latest injury could be a blow to the manager and fans.
Whether the ex-Southampton man will be fit for Liverpool’s next game is not yet clear. With the Reds facing QPR away next Sunday, followed closely by Real Madrid at Anfield in the Champions League, the Liverpool medical team will be trying their utmost to get the 25-year-old fit and ready to play. As it stands, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure are Liverpool’s only fit centre-backs.
Of more concern to the national boss Niko Kovac will be Lovren’s absence for the international fixtures. Next Monday sees Croatia host Azerbaijan, but the defender is likely to be more sorely missed in tomorrow night’s important Group H fixture away to Bulgaria. Lovren’s injury means the sole representative in the Croat squad from a current Premiership team is Nikica Jelavic, but the squad does boast the likes of ex-Spurs players Luka Modric and Vedran Corluka.
Lovren has become the first choice centre-back for Liverpool after Rogers was willing to splash £20 million in the summer transfer window. Southampton were reluctant to sell the cultured centre-back, but a £12 million profit and a player who clearly wanted to leave proved too much.
Liverpool haven’t had the easiest of starts to their Champions League or Premier League campaigns, and finding some defensive solidity – of which Lovren will play a big part – will be crucial for the rest of their season.
Think you know your football? Share your knowledge, tips and comments to win cash prizes in OLBG’s tipster competition – £11,000 to be won monthly!