Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has accused Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku of deliberately flicking a boot into his face during Saturday’s goalless draw at Anfield.
Shortly before half-time the Croatia international was involved in a clash with the former Everton forward which resulted in the centre-back rolling around on the floor holding his face.
The Belgium international was not punished by referee Martin Atkinson at the time and it was confirmed on Monday will face no retrospective action from the video review panel despite Lovren claiming his foot had connected with his cheekbone.
“I made a tackle there. I just felt he was over me and he could move away but to be honest my point of view is that he did it on purpose,” said Lovren ahead of Liverpool’s Champions League match in Maribor.
“Even if he did it normally he would apologise after that but I saw he was nervous during the game so maybe that was also the reason.”
Asked whether he was disappointed Lukaku would not face any further punishment Lovren added: “That happened on the pitch and it is over.
“I cannot change it and no-one can change it so that is what I am thinking about.
“This is not my decision. I cannot say I am disappointed but it is what it is. We need to move on. That is football, part of the game.”
Lovren’s comments overshadowed what is a pivotal game in Liverpool’s Champions League campaign.
After two successive draws they have back-to-back matches against the Slovenian side and need to get wins on the board to avoid difficulties further down the line.
For that reason manager Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to be rotating many players, even though this game falls between matches against United and Tottenham.
“I know what people are thinking. This (Maribor) is the place they should rotate,” he said. “No chance. It is the last place I would do things like this.
“Yes we will make maybe one or two changes but the first job is not to think the same thing as a lot of you think already and under-estimate the opponent.
“They have had nine Champions League games so far (including qualification rounds) and that is quality and mentality.
“We want to go to the next round and we know we now play Maribor twice. We have already wasted points even though the performances were good.
“We need to be good again and take the result, not think we have it already.
“We need to be strong and concentrated against a typically, top European team.”