Liverpool need Dejan Lovren to focus amid international row

Liverpool are counting on Dejan Lovren.

One of the most impressive aspects of Jurgen Klopp's impact at Liverpool is that he has managed to get Dejan Lovren playing at a high level.

The centre-back struggled after making his £20 million switch from Southampton, failing to click under Brendan Rodgers' management.

He has been one of the club's most reliable performers at the back over the last two months, which has only been highlighted by Martin Skrtel's awful return from injury.

Skrtel has been sent off for the under-21s, and conceded penalties for Liverpool and Slovakia since coming back a fortnight ago.

Liverpool need Lovren to step up once again, but need him to focus after a controversial week which has led to suggestions he may not be picked for Croatia's Euro 2016 squad.

The 26-year-old was involved in an angry row with his international boss Ante Cacic over a reported refusal to warm-up during the friendly match with Hungary.

Cacic blasted, reported The Mirror: "I will not tolerate such behaviour because no one is more important than the team. Lovren made a step backward, away from our squad.

"We didn't talk after the match, we will see what is going to happen, but I will not tolerate such acts and he made a wrong move."

“Do you think it is up to Lovren or any other player to decide how long will he warm up? Or is it coach's decision?”

Missing out on Euro 2016 in such circumstances would be a big personal blow to Lovren, and given the mental brittleness he has shown since arriving at Liverpool, fans should be slightly anxious that he could be distracted upon his return to his club.

Liverpool cannot afford for him to be, not with a huge Europa League quarter-final coming up against Borussia Dortmund, and the chance remaining of a push for the top four in the Premier League if the club can go on a winning run.

Lovren needs to put it all to one side and show focus, and ensure his form is so good that Croatia cannot afford to leave him out.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch