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Roberto Firmino expected to miss Liverpool’s U.S. tour

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Liverpool has become a regular in traveling to the United States over the summer, but one of the club’s biggest stars won’t be with the club when the Reds continue that tradition next week.

[ MORE: Lovren believes he is “one of the best in the world”

Brazil international Roberto Firmino will miss the team’s U.S. tour for the International Champions Cup, after playing for his native country at the World Cup, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds will take on PL rivals Manchester City and Manchester United in the ICC, following an opening match on July 22 against Bundesliga giants Borussia Dortmund.

“Bobby will be in for the second camp,” manager Jurgen Klopp told Liverpool’s website. “Then we have the English guys [and] Simon [Mignolet] and Dejan [Lovren] will come another week later. We’ll already be back from France and will have exactly one week to prepare [for] the game. That’s no problem.”

Klopp also suggested that a number of the team’s players still residing at the World Cup, including Simon Mignolet and Dejan Lovren won’t be back with Liverpool until a week before the Premier League season kicks off.

The Reds will kick off their PL season against West Ham United at Anfield on August 11.

Lovren demands respect: ‘I am one of the best in the world’

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Liverpool’s Croatian defender has seen his club reach the Champions League final and his country reach the World Cup final. To him, that means the criticism should come to a halt.

“This feels incredible, especially after everything that was said about us before the game,” said Lovren after the win over England in the World Cup semifinal. “We showed our character. We showed that we deserved to be in the final and people should respect us. Sometimes, the criticism is unfair and people should respect me also.”

Paired with World Cup Best XI contender Domagoj Vida, Lovren and the Croatian defense held England off the board after Kieran Trippier‘s 4th-minute free-kick goal.

“People said I had a difficult season [with Liverpool] but I don’t agree with that,” Lovren told BeIN Sports. “I showed why I took Liverpool to the final of the Champions League and now with the national team, and now I’m in the World Cup final.”

”I think people should recognize that I’m one of the best defenders in the world and not just talk nonsense.”

“This criticism is what gets me more motivated to work harder and prove everyone wrong,” Lovren said. “Everyone. From today, everyone in Croatia and around the world saw we managed to make history. In 20 years’ time, people will remember us, and not just the team from 1998. That is why I am proud, and now we have one game to make people remember us forever.”

Lovren made 29 appearances this season for Liverpool in the Premier League and played the full 90 minutes in all but one of Liverpool’s 13 Champions League matches. He has also started and played in every minute of Croatia’s World Cup adventure, save for their meaningless final group stage match against Iceland. The 29-year-old is set to earn his 46th cap in the World Cup final.

”It’s something we’ll never forget. People are crying in our country,” Lovren added about the win over England to reach the World Cup final. “This is something historical for us. We will never forget this. We beat our record 20 years ago and we had it on our shoulders all the time, this weight I would say and people now will never forget us. Now we have the chance to do something even better and hopefully we can do it.”

Liverpool completes signing of Xherdan Shaqiri

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Jurgen Klopp has his third signing of the 2018 summer transfer window as Liverpool completed the financially sound transfer of Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri, following Switzerland’s elimination from the 2018 World Cup, the Reds announced Friday.

Switzerland didn’t impress in the World Cup, finding a quick exit in the Round of 16 to Sweden, but Shaqiri was one of the bright spots for his national side, scoring a late winner in a critical group stage victory over Serbia and proving dangerous on the flanks cutting inside.

According to reports, Liverpool paid $17 million for Shaqiri, who follows Naby Kieta and Fabinho in the Anfield doors this summer. The 26-year-old spent three seasons at Stoke City, making 92 appearances across all competitions and scoring 15 goals while assisting 15 others. However, with Stoke City relegated, that activated a $17 million release clause which Liverpool was happy to activate.

Shaqiri said he’s wanted this move for some time. “I’m really glad and happy to be here,” he told the official Liverpool website. “As a player you always want to be on the biggest stage in football. A few years ago I wanted to come too but it didn’t happen. I’m really happy that now I’m finally here. I want to improve myself too, I want to be with the best and I want to win titles. That’s what I’m here for.”

Shaqiri has plenty of competition for a starting spot at Liverpool. For starters, he plays on the same side as star Mohamed Salah who lit the Premier League on fire last season with his electric pace and vision both on and off the ball. With Sadio Mane equally entrenched on the other side, Shaqiri will have his work cut out for him. However, he adds important depth to a squad that seemed too heavily reliant on Salah and Mane last season, and with both players participating in the 2018 World Cup this summer, depth will be key to avoid overly tired legs or serious injury.

Shaqiri had “offers all across Europe” according to the Liverpool Echo, but the former Bayern Munich attacker chose to stay in the Premier League and move forward with the Reds.

Report: Shaqiri set for Liverpool medical on release-clause deal

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Xherdan Shaqiri‘s potential transfer from Stoke City to Liverpool has moved from “run-of-the-mill transfer rumor” to “this could actually get done and be announced tomorrow” with shocking efficiency.

[ TRANSFER RUMORS: Malcom to Spurs, Bale to Man Utd “advanced” ]

The 26-year-old Swiss star has an $17-million relegation release clause in his Stoke contract, and after the Potters were relegated from the Premier League in May, neither Shaqiri nor Stoke — who would likely be on the hook for the entirety of his reported $85,000-per-week wages — want any part of one another any longer. According to multiple reports out of the UK, he is set to undergo the standard medical examination on Friday before signing a contract to join Liverpool.

Liverpool seems a pretty natural landing spot for a player of Shaqiri’s 1) technical and physical skill set, and 2) familiarity with the PL and the English game — plus European competitions from his days at Basel — as a whole. The Reds were on the cusp of signing a very difference attacker in Lyon’s Nabil Fekir last month, but pulled the plus at the last minute when unable to agree contract structure for a player with a history of serious knee problems.

[ MORE: Mahrez, Man City share no. 1 goal: win the Champions League ]

Shaqiri is, for all intents and purposes, a perfectly suitable backup plan. The fact that he comes at a price $60 million cheaper than Fekir, and with a full understanding of the league and living in England, are just (massive and gigantic) feathers in the cap of Jurgen Klopp.

Croatia’s Lovren puffs chest, backs Modric for Ballon d’Or

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Dejan Lovren is feeling Wednesday’s Croatia win over England in the World Cup semifinals, and he is feeling it deeply.

The Liverpool and Croatia defender will be one of four players in the World Cup Final versus France who were also a part of the UEFA Champions League Final (Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane, Luka Modric, and Mateo Kovacic are the other three).

[ MORE: Tyler Adams to Bundesliga? ]

And Lovren is hoping that another strong tournament gets him a little relief from his critics (From BeIn Sports, video below):

“It’s something for me especially,” Lovren said. “I had people saying I had a difficult season but I don’t agree with that. I’ve shown why I took Liverpool to the Champions League final. Now with my national team we are in the final and I think people should recognize that I am also one of the best defenders in the world and not just talk nonsense.”

He was also asked about Croatia captain Modric, who won the UCL Final with Real.

“Modric, he’s the best midfield player in the world and if we win, he deserves the Ballon d’Or.”

He also talked about his team’s legacy in Croatian history.