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Liverpool target the man tasked with stopping Neymar in Brazil

| 12.06.2014

The vultures are circling ever more quickly around the carcass of Southampton’s squad after the south coasters surprisingly-successful 2013/14 season, with Dejan Lovren reportedly agitating for a move to Liverpool.

Lovren will have to feature prominently for Croatia if they are to stand any chance of landing 27/10 double-chance odds of a win or draw against hosts Brazil in the World Cup’s opening match.

The 24-year-old is expected to be tasked with marking Neymar in Sao Paulo alongside man-mountain centre-half partner Vedran Corluka, whose job will be to keep an eye on former Lyon centre-forward Fred.

Saints’ highly-rated defender is also a Les Gones alumnus and only left the Stade de Gerland 12 months ago for a reported fee of around £8.5m, but his performances under Mauricio Pochettino last term have seen Lovren repeatedly linked with an Anfield switch.

Former Southampton teammate Rickie Lambert has already made the move from Hampshire back to Huyton and with Pochettino now in situ at Spurs, it’s easy to see why Lovren may feel the St Mary’s outfit won’t match his medium-term ambitions.

Indeed, the rumoured email sent to Saints big-wigs is said to state Lovren’s intentions to play Champions League football in 2014/15, which is something Reds boss Brendan Rodgers can offer after Liverpool finished a close second in the top flight last term.

Many seasoned punters have speculated that Rodgers would have become the first Liverpool manager to win the Premier League if they had one or two more options in defence, particularly at centre-half and left-back.

Considering Liverpool conceded four more goals than the eighth-placed Saints, and just three fewer than Hull in 16th, this view is hard to argue with, but Rodgers faces a fight to prise their mooted target away from his current employers.

Reports suggest Southampton have not yet acknowledged Lovren’s ‘demand’ to leave and with three years left on his contract, it could take a mammoth bid to land him.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune