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Brendan Rodgers praises Dejan Lovren for second season form

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praises defender Dejan Lovren from bouncing back after what was a 'difficult first year' at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has praised Dejan Lovren for bouncing back from last season's poor form.

Lovren signed for Liverpool for £20m in the summer of 2014 but the Croatian failed to hold down a first-team spot at Anfield in his first term.

Liverpool have started the season well though and have failed to concede in their first three league games, with Lovren playing every minute of those games.

"Like a lot of players it was always difficult that first year coming in," Rodgers told The Guardian. "There was a lack of stability in the group and it was a case of reassuring him that he was still a top-quality player.

"What has really helped him is how quickly the full-backs close the game down when we lose the ball. In those situations [Nathaniel] Clyne and [Joe] Gomez really help the centre-backs. But for Dejan, he's much more patient in his game now, he's got the stability of playing.

"He's in the team and he's in because he had a good pre-season so he's in good condition. He's focused but he's also a bit more relaxed in his position."

A fourth consecutive clean sheet at home to West Ham United today would equal the club's record from the start of a league campaign, achieved a decade ago.

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers watches on as his side take on Arsenal on August 24, 2015
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ROWING
· Comeback queen and super-mum Helen Glover goes for her third Olympic gold alongside Polly Swann in the women's pair final (1.30am)
· There is also a medal on offer for GB pair Emily Craig and Imogen Grant in the lightweight women's double scull final (2.10am)

SWIMMING
· As second-fastest qualifier for the final, Team GB's James Wilby is among the medal contenders in the men's 200m breaststroke (2.44am)
· Alys Thomas takes part in the women's 200m butterfly final, although he faces a difficult task to challenge for the medals (3.28am)
· Caeleb Dressel of the USA has been touted by some as the successor to Michael Phelps, and he has the chance to notch up a fourth Olympic gold in the men's 100m freestyle final (3.37am)

RUGBY SEVENS
· After Team GB's men narrowly missed out on a medal, the women get their campaign underway against the Russian Olympic Committee (3am) and New Zealand (10.30am)

HOCKEY
· It is a Great Britain vs. Netherlands double-header, with the men up first in Pool B (4.15am)
· Most eyes will be on the women's showdown between the two nations, though, as Netherlands - the world's best team - look to gain revenge on GB for defeat in the 2016 Olympic final (11am)

CANOE SLALOM
· Mallory Franklin takes part in the women's canoe semi-final, and will hope to do enough to qualify for the final later in the day (6am-8.45am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· With Simone Biles now out of the women's all-around final, the competition has been blown wide open. Team GB twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova are among those taking part (11.50am-2.05pm)

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