John Arne Riise defends Dejan Lovren after Europa League heartbreak

The former Liverpool defender feels the £20 million man deserves credit.

Former Liverpool defender Jon Arne Riise has defended Dejan Lovren on Twitter after the centre-back missed the crucial penalty during his side's Europa League last-32 tie with Besiktas.

Liverpool signed Lovren from Southampton for £20 million this summer and the Croatian was tasked with taking what proved to be the final spot-kick of the Reds' penalty shootout in Turkey.

Every penalty had gone in up until that moment, with Besiktas leading 5-4. Lovren had to score or Liverpool were out - but he duly fired off target.

Riise, however, has defended the 25-year-old, suggesting he is due credit for being brave enough to do what several others weren't.

The decision to give Lovren the responsibility of taking the Reds' fifth penalty was an extremely questionable one to say the least, with the £20m Croatian already under huge pressure after a poor start to the season since joining from Southampton.

Ultimately, Lovren was the fall guy as Liverpool were knocked out - but only because he had the courage to step up to the mark.

As Riise suggests, though, the defender's confidence will surely only suffer after yet another blow to Lovren's pride.

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