Dejan Lovren returns to Croatia squad after Euro 2016 exile

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Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren has been recalled to the Croatia squad for their World Cup qualifier against Turkey.

The 27-year-old was left out of the squad for their European Championship campaign after a disagreement with manager Ante Cacic, but the pair appear to have restored their relationship.

Lovren is the only Premier League player named in Cacic’s squad for their clash with Turkey on September 5.

He joins the likes of Sime Vrsaljko, Tin Jedvaj and Vedran Corluka in Cacic’s defensive ranks, though long-serving captain Darijo Srna recently announced his retirement.

Big names such as Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic and Mario Mandzukic are included, along with previously rumoured Liverpool targets Ante Coric and Marcelo Brozovic.

Lovren’s inclusion is something of a surprise, despite Cacic offering an olive branch ahead of Euro 2016.

“I haven’t closed the door on Lovren for good, he can return one day if he realises that he has to be a team player,” he said.

SANTA CLARA, USA - Friday, July 29, 2016: Liverpool's Dejan Lovren during a training session ahead of the International Champions Cup 2016 game against AC Milan on day nine of the club's USA Pre-season Tour at the Levi's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking in April, Lovren demanded a role as Croatia’s first-choice centre-back, though whether he will be handed this against Turkey remains to be seen.

He is currently serving as one of Jurgen Klopp‘s starting centre-backs at Liverpool, however, lining up alongside Ragnar Klavan in Sunday’s 4-3 win away to Arsenal.

Mamadou Sakho and Joe Gomez are both currently injured, while Joel Matip has only recently returned to fitness.

Lovren will likely vie with Matip for a starting place alongside either Klavan or Sakho when the quartet are all fit, but his improved performances on Merseyside stand him in good stead.

He looks to have formed an early understanding with Klavan, who has impressed since his £4.2 million move from Augsburg this summer.

Adding depth to his centre-back ranks is a major positive within Klopp’s summer transfer business, ensuring that he is unlikely to be forced to call upon the likes of Lucas Leiva or Tiago Ilori on a regular basis.

Liverpool have three more fixtures before the September international break, taking on Burnley (August 20) and Tottenham Hotspur (August 27) in the Premier League and Burton Albion (August 23) in the League Cup.



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