After a very promising performance against Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool Manager was in an upbeat mode. What was their last pre-season game against a really strong side, Reds performed really well. Alongside Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling, one man who played his heart out and showed the cop what he is capable of was Dejan Lovren.
Brendan Rodgers was in all praise for his new defender in the press conference. Speaking about Lovren, Rodgers said,
“I've been very pleased with all out signings. Dejan was perfect, a very dominant number one centre half.”
Dejan Lovren is one of the signings Liverpool made this summer along with Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana, Lazar Markovic, Emre Can and Javier Manquillo. He was brought from Southampton for a fee of £20 Million. Many would say that’s too much for a centre back. But Lovren is the perfect signing Liverpool needed. He would have joined Liverpool in USA had there been no VISA problems. So he made his debut in front of the Kop and what a debut it was. After scoring a thunderous header, the Croatian was rock solid in his defensive duties as well.
Last season, Liverpool major problem was its defence. They conceded goals for fun and weren’t able to put a lid on their goal post. Since after Jamie Carragher retired in 2013, Rodgers was in a search of some talisman in his defence. Liverpool needed an organiser in their defence and Lovren suits in that role perfectly. Last season, Liverpool tried different defenders but no one proved fruitful. Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger and Kolo Toure all had a dismal season. When their strikers were scoring goals for fun, there defenders were shipping goals at almost equal rate. Liverpool conceded 50 goals last season, a tally which took Premier League title away from them.
Skrtel was a common factor in different strike partnerships but his performances weren’t up to the mark. He was a standout performer for Liverpool but his contributions as compared to Lovren were meek. Skrtel made 9 defensive errors last season. While Lovren made only 1. Lovren made 1.55 successful tackles per game. While Skrtel was nowhere close to it. Only Liverpool defender who came close to this mark is Sakho with 1.52 tackles per game. Remember Lovren won a total of 48 tackles as compared to Sakho’s 25 in total. Lovren do lag behind Skrtel in one figure which is most headed clearances last season.
So it’s obvious that Lovren would bring more stability and stiffness in the backline of Liverpool. He’s a really strong central defender. In his first season in English Premier League with Saints, he has impressed everyone with his defending and going for the ball. He seems calm on the ball and wins a lot of his challenges. He is a very vocal defender, just what Liverpool needed in their ranks last season.
Liverpool may have made handful of signings so far. But as it seems now, Lovren will have more game time than those of other new signings. Lallana, Lambert, Can, Manquillo all have to fight for a regular starting XI spot, but Lovren will have a regular spot as far as Brendan Rodgers is concerned. More importantly, he has Champions League experience, a factor which many of Liverpool youngsters lack. He can use these factors to his advantage and could be the prosperous of new signings at Liverpool.
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