Liverpool's Dejan Lovren could be replaced by 18-year-old for Croatia

Dejan Lovren

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren could lose his place in the national team to Roma's Tin Jedvaj if his form doesn't improve, warns Croatian media.

Liverpool man Dejan Lovren faces a battle to keep his place in the Croatian national team as highly-rated Roma defender Tin Jedvaj eyes a first-team spot. 

The 25-year-old, who joined Liverpool from Southampton in the summer for a fee of £20 million, has not had a great start to life at Anfield. Critics and supporters have questioned his performances, ability and general application, with some now asking for the big money signing to be dropped.

Jamie Carragher came out on Wednesday and defended Lovren, insisting Liverpool must 'persist' with him despite his poor form. 

"He is proven in the Premier League last season and showed he is a very good centre-back," Carragher told the Liverpool Echo.

'He showed that a lot, but it is difficult for him at the moment - it's difficult for them all - they they will come through it.

'When you pay that much money for a centre-back you have to persist with it and get him through it. Get Lovren to learn your values but it is also about getting to know him and playing to his strengths and weaknesses."

However, it's not only critics in Britain that have questioned his ability of late. Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti has called for an upturn in form or for Lovren to face the drop from the starting XI in favour of Roma defender Tin Jedvaj. 

The 18-year-old, currently on loan with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, has been impressing with his performances and versatility both in Germany's top flight and the Champions League. 

He has made 14 appearances for Leverkusen this season, scoring twice and also providing one assist. As an incredibly gifted all-round defender, the German club have used Jedvaj in all of the back four positions on more than one occasion, although the centre of defence seems to be his preferred option.

Lovren will most likely get the nod for Croatia's crucial qualifying match against Italy on Sunday. However, a poor performance from the £20m centre-back could leave Jedvaj smelling blood with Croatia's next qualifying game, at home to Norway, just over a month away. 

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