Written by: Daniel Ghorbal @danghorbal
Since arriving at the club in 2014 for a fee of £20 million, Dejan Lovren has undoubtedly had a contrasting career, showcasing his range in ability, from missed penalties in Turkey to Champions League finals whereby his defensive solidity deserves immense credit. Comments from himself stating that he values himself as one of the best defenders during the World Cup raised eyebrows about his seriousness, although he did impress on the world’s biggest stage, just perhaps not to the extent that he thinks.
In his first season at the club, Lovren certainly didn’t impress and wasn’t living up to the reputation that he gained from a good first season in English football at Southampton. A game which stands out for me is the penultimate game of the campaign, a home game against Crystal Palace whereby Lovren was unable to handle the trickery and pace of Yannick Bolasie. It was a performance that typified his season in all honesty.
In all credit to Dejan, the following season was a huge improvement from the last, and despite playing less games, his consistency was much more noticeable and the Croatian international was fairly reliable. Despite being brought in for his defensive responsibilities, Lovren provided Liverpool fans with one of the moments to savour within the past few decades, with his stunning header against Borussia Dortmund to turn the tie in Liverpool’s favour sparking scenes of pandemonium amongst the Anfield faithful.
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Lovren’s up and down Liverpool career continued into the 2016/17 season where once again, he wasn’t the most convincing. Ultimately, when a fan base is so desperate for a commanding centre-half to join, it implies that their current options are simply not good enough for a side of Liverpool’s calibre, with Lovren falling into that bracket.
Yes, he certainly has attributes that can positively contribute to the club going forward, such as his physicality and commanding presence within the backline, however on occasions Lovren’s presence become too prominent and therefore rash, jeopardising Liverpool’s realistic chances of major silverware. If you compare him to Virgil Van Dijk, both have a physicality and presence that is noticeable, however Van Dijk goes about his business with a sense of composure and calmness that Lovren potentially lacks.
Carrying on in this yo-yo esque formation of Lovren’s Liverpool career, the European runner up campaign of 2017/18 perfectly showcased what Lovren was all about. He partnered Van Dijk throughout the knockout stages and did fantastically under pressure, especially in the 2 legs against Manchester City and the final against Real Madrid. Although we were beaten 3-1, Lovren had a terrific game and practically stifled the threats of Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. It was a performance worthy of winning European glory.
Fortunately though, Dejan Lovren was indeed a Champions League winner, albeit the season after whereby his contributions in that competition were minimal. Throughout the European winning campaign, Lovren stepped in commandingly when needed, despite being a 4th choice centre-half.
His relationship with Mohamed Salah as well as bubbly nature within the dressing room are factors that make him a valuable member of our squad and as far as 4th choice centre-backs come, there are certainly many worse.
My opinion on Dejan Lovren is varied and ultimately subjective to form. Some players can have bad seasons/ spells of a season and I’d still be able to rate them highly, however Lovren is one of those whereby you simply do not know what he will provide.
At times, he has been incredibly frustrating (notably missing a penalty against Besiktas as well as his terrible long-range shot which ballooned over the bar in the dying embers of an FA cup semi-final clash with Aston Villa) but what frustrates me more about Lovren is that he clearly has potential to be a great centre-half, not long-term potential but potential that will undoubtedly be of use to Liverpool in the coming seasons.
His desire and ambition to be one of the World’s best is admirable, whether it is unrealistic or not, and that ambition is something which he needs to use positively to help him receive regular game time at the club and bow out on a high.
Written by: Daniel Ghorbal @danghorbal