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International Roundup: Lovren Left Out and Allen Gets an Elbow

Three of Liverpool's internationals were set to take part in today's qualifying matches, but only two saw the pitch as Joe Allen and Divock Origi faced off as Wales took on Belgium.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

A slow weekend comes to a close for Liverpool and its internationals, with three in the running for their respective squads in Euro 2016 qualifying. Nearly all of the senior squad's internationals from European nations entered the weekend with a chance at featuring in next summer's finals in France, and today did little to suggest that won't become a reality.

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Belgium 0
Wales 0

Both Joe Allen and Divock Origi were handed starts here, as expected, and each had their moments in what was an entirely watchable 0-0 draw. It's a significant achievement for the visitors, who now look set to secure qualification after retaining their spot atop Group B. Origi and Belgium had the better chances; the 19-year-old created a chance for Nacer Chadli with a terrific flick-on in the first half, and Eden Hazard was typically excellent despite lacking a finishing touch. Couple scary moments for both sides, with Allen on the receiving end of an elbow from Marouane Fellaini that should have seen the Manchester United midfielder sent off, while Napoli's Dries Mertens was clearly concussed after a collision with George Williams. Wales and Belgium both now have a break from qualifying until late March.

Italy 1
Croatia 1

Dejan Lovren was dropped from the starting eleven for Croatia at the San Siro, which ended in a 1-1 draw. The struggling defender was left on the bench for the entirety of a match that will mostly be remembered for the flares thrown onto the pitch by Croatian supporters, resulting in a temporary suspension of the match with a quarter-hour to go. Croatia had the better of the chances to win it over the final minutes, but the point were shared as the sides remained joint-top on points in Group H.

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Just a few friendlies now separate Liverpool from having their full squad back, and with the squad approaching full fitness, we'll be hoping those involved make it through unscathed ahead of a demanding--and potentially season-defining--stretch to close out 2014.

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