Monday 16 July 2018

Lovren reveals death threats after Spurs display

Dejan Lovren reveals his torment last October Photo: Reuters
Dejan Lovren reveals his torment last October Photo: Reuters

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren claims he received death threats on social media following criticism of his form.

The Croatian was targeted in the aftermath of his side's 4-1 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, when he was substituted after 31 minutes.

Lovren was due to play against Huddersfield last weekend but withdrew at the last minute with a thigh injury. He is expected to miss Liverpool's Champions League meeting with Maribor tonight.

After receiving an obscene message, in which an abuser threatened to "murder" his family, the 28-year-old responded: "I cannot ignore when my family is threatened. I just can't and won't accept that."

Liverpool learned of the abuse when Lovren posted the messages, rather than directly from the player, but said they would offer all their support if further action was requested.

The defender missed training last night through injury, and Philippe Coutinho is again likely to be absent with an abductor muscle problem.

There is better news for manager Jurgen Klopp regarding Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana, who are expected to resume training to prove their fitness.

Meanwhile, James Milner admits he did not enjoy being an emergency left-back last season but the prospect of sitting on the bench at the start of this one was even worse for the club's vice-captain.

Milner has started the past three games in his favoured midfield role, and was man of the match when Klopp's side defeated Maribor 7-0 a fortnight ago.

"Last season, I was asked to do a job and I did that as well as I could. I said at the time I didn't enjoy playing (left-back). I didn't like it, but the team always comes first and you do what's asked of you," said Milner.

"I definitely found myself enjoying my football again in midfield this year. I just want to get out there and contribute as much as I can."

The competition for midfield places has meant Milner had to be patient for his chance.

"It was very frustrating. Every player wants to play football and that is what I want to do," he said.

"The manager picks the team and if it isn't happening you have to try to force your way in and when you do get the chance, try to take it.

"I played there in training, but there is nothing like playing in games. It might take the odd game to get up to being 100 per cent comfortable in there or make it feel like normal.

"I've played the last three games and I have to stake a claim to that shirt. We have so many games and such a talented squad of players, there is going to be competition, changes, injuries, suspensions and things like that.

"At the start of the season, the manager pulled me in and said he was looking at me more in midfield, which I was obviously delighted with, and then I didn't play too much after that.

"It's down to me to force my way into the team. The manager has got to pick a team, he's got a tough decision every time."

Liverpool's biggest issue ahead of their Anfield meeting with the Slovenians is convincing a cynical public it will be a tougher proposition this time.

Klopp is adamant there will be no complacency. "I can imagine what people think," said Klopp.

"In this world, respect is a big problem in general and after 7-0 people might not respect Maribor any more, but we know how strong they can be. If we win 1-0, I'm fine."

© Daily Telegraph, London

Telegraph.co.uk

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