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Sakho on standby if Lovren is injured


Liverpool's Dejan Lovren

Liverpool's Dejan Lovren

Liverpool's Dejan Lovren

Brendan Rodgers has tipped Bournemouth to join Liverpool in the top flight next season after navigating his team's progress past the Championship leaders.

Having survived a couple of early scares Liverpool took control and a double from Raheem Sterling either side of Lazar Markovic's first Reds goal set up a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final with Chelsea next month.

One of few negatives on a positive night for Rodgers and Liverpool was the half-time withdrawal of defender Dejan Lovren (inset).

Lovren played the opening 45 minutes as part of a back three alongside fellow centre-backs Kolo Toure and Martin Skrtel, with Glen Johnson having been sidelined following his injury at Old Trafford.

The former Southampton centre-back had to be replaced by Mamadou Sakho. The Frenchman, who was making his first Liverpool appearance since September, is on stand-by to feature against Arsenal on Sunday if Lovren fails to make a swift recovery.

Howard feels for Reds rival Mignolet

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard has warned Liverpool counterpart Simon Mignolet it will be a "hard road back" after the latter lost his place.

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers said the Belgium international was set for an indefinite period on the sidelines after leaving him out against Manchester United on Sunday.

Growing criticism of Mignolet's inability to command his area and poor distribution - which some blamed for Liverpool's jittery defence - eventually took its toll and he has been replaced by Brad Jones.

"I know he is a Red but I feel for Simon. It is hard being a goalkeeper," said the American.

"It is not easy. It is a confidence position.

"Sometimes there is no way back. You cannot come on and play the last 20-30 minutes and put a good shift in."

"It is all or nothing with goalkeeping."

The United States international has faced criticism almost every season from some disgruntled Everton fans and, although some of it becomes personal via social media, Howard shrugs it off.

"Social media is, for me, non-existent. Anyone who pays attention to that - criticism or praise - is pretty silly," he added.

"I think you have to have enough positive experiences to be able to block out the criticism.

"When I was young and at Manchester United I did not have a lot in my locker to fall back on so you make a mistake and it is doom and gloom and 'You should hang him up'.

"Now I've had enough criticism and positive experiences to know that I'm not a bad goalkeeper.

"I've had it before and it will happen again - with goalkeepers the next mistake is only just around the corner.

"If you worry about that you will crumble. I think a good goalkeeper always has to have a manager who believes in him."