Could someone please tell me why "said to me" does not work? Thanks.
The first sentence of this link reads "he said he was coming". No 'that' was needed. What i learned is that you can omit 'that' when it doesnt work as the subject of a sentence even for reported speech ( http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/reportedspeech.htm - http://www.englishforums.com/English/OmissionSubordinateConjunction/bhzhh/post.htm - ) maybe a native could add further info on this thread...
I tend to use "that" in reported speech, but it is true that it is optional. What a native English speaker would do is "reduce" ( hardly pronounce) the "that" since it is not an important word.
I think both loves and loved should be accepted. But I assumed the word that duo was looking for was loved because this exercise is on past verbs.