Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has joked that Liverpool will not win the Premier League title this season because they have Dejan Lovren in defence.
Liverpool sit second in the table, two points above the ‘Chelsea’, but also two points behind leaders and reigning champions Manchester City.
Yet in spite of a strong start to the season, Kovacic could not refuse the chance to make a dig at his compatriot’s expense when quizzed on who will be crowned champions in May.
According to Croatian website ’24 Sata’, Kovacic joked : “Liverpool will not be England champion. Why? Well because they have Dejan Lovren.”
Kovacic was speaking at the premiere of a commemorative film in honour of Croatia’s heroic World Cup finals run in the summer, but aside from enjoying the film, he could not help joking about the Premier League title race.
The compatriots became close friends during their academy days at Dinamo Zagreb, and have both enjoyed a remarkable rise, culminating in their World Cup final appearance in Russia.
At domestic level, Kovacic and Lovren have encountered each other on various occasions; most notably the Champions League final last year, when Kovacic’s Real Madrid beat Lovren’s Liverpool to take the trophy in Kiev.