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Lovren starts the Manchester United-Liverpool war of words with tactics dig

Jose Mourinho's men had their lowest share of Premier League possession EVER as they took a point in reverse fixture


Dejan Lovren has fired the opening shots in the war against Manchester United, by insisting his Liverpool team would never park the bus and play for a point like their rivals.

In a thinly-veiled attack on the boring tactics deployed by their arch-rivals' boss Jose Mourinho, the Reds defender says he expects one of the richest clubs in the world to again play for a draw when they sides meet at Old Trafford on Saturday — just like they did earlier in the season at Anfield.

Mourinho appeared to be running scared of Liverpool back then, as United had their lowest percentage of possession in the Premier League since that data was first recorded, but Lovren suggested they will still be dangerous if they play that way again this weekend, because “they still win ugly”.

Lovren and Liverpool have scored more than Saturday's hosts but trail them by two points (Image: PA)

“Last time here, they defend really deep. So let’s see what happens now,” he said.

When asked if he expects that again, the 28-year-old Croatian added: “I think so. They need the points, definitely.

“For them it will be maybe a point good but for us, we never play for a point. We are there, we will give our best. We will play like we play every day — attacking football. Let’s enjoy.”

United had 37% possession and one shot on target at Anfield, but got a 0-0 thanks to David de Gea (Image: EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
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Lovren revealed that when United were 2-0 down at Crystal Palace on Monday night, he briefly entertained hopes they would be forced to come out and play on Saturday with the two clubs level on 60 points in the chase for Champions League qualification.

“During their last game, I think 'Yes they may attack us.' But unfortunately they won in the last moment.

Nemanja Matic dashed Lovren's hopes of a more open game with his late goal at Palace (Image: REUTERS)
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“You know Mourinho has his own plans. Whatever he does, it is not our job to know, it is our job to focus on ourselves and play how we hope will beat them.

“Maybe they are not in the best shape but still they win ugly. What matters is the points. It will be a tough challenge definitely.”

Lovren looks to have nailed down a starting place alongside Virgil van Dijk after forming a strong partnership with the Dutchman in recent weeks.

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And that will give him the chance to join renew battle with Romelu Lukaku, who he accused of deliberately stamping on him in the reverse fixture.

Lovren though, insisted that is now all in the past.

“It is over. There is another game,” he said of that incident.

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  • Dietmar Hamann names the Liverpool player who can contain Lukaku in derby

“He is a top striker. We can say what we want, he scores many goals.

“But I enjoy playing against big top strikers - the biggest challenge for me is when you have Mo Salah and Sadio Mane at the training ground and then you know what you are!

“Definitely Lukaku is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. He showed many times. I think it is quite challenging. But if they don’t they have the ball…”

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