And so there were four.
With the World Cup now into its concluding stages, the semi finals are set to be upon us, with a particularly Liverpool flavour to one of the clashes. Dejan Lovren’s Croatia will face off against Jordan Henderson’s England for a place in the World Cup final in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.
Lovren’s Croatia were able to win the quarter final tie against the hosts Russia on Saturday, though the game went all the way to a penalty shootout. Though the score remained at 2-2 after extra time, Croatia were the stronger side throughout and deserved the win, especially with their supporters being heavily outnumbered by the Russian fans in their own country. Lovren himself did not have a hugely noteworthy game, looking competent when called upon but generally didn’t find himself called upon too often. This is another strong performance in a decent tournament for the centre back, where he has been rarely exposed.
Earlier in the day, England comfortably booked their place in the semi final in a 2-0 win over Sweden, with Harry Maguire and Dele Alli providing the goals. As has been the case throughout the competition, Henderson played an important role as the side’s lone defensive midfielder, using his energy and fitness levels to cover a lot of ground and protect the back three well. Trent Alexander-Arnold was again an unused substitute, having only made one start in the tournament so far. He did look assured in his game against Belgium, but Kieran Trippier’s good form makes it unlikely that he will get to make another start at this World Cup.
Wednesday’s game should mark the first time in this World Cup that two Liverpool players have faced each other (Simon Mignolet was an unused substitute against Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England). With both teams having looked strong in the previous games, it should prove an exciting clash, and one imagines most Liverpool fans will be supporting the winner of this game in the final, be it either country.