Dejan Lovren, A Reflection

Dejan Lovren is currently sidelined through injury, and The Anfield Talk’s Robin (@robbiemac72) takes a look at the Croat’s situation…

Already the Premier League season is only after starting and already there are a few injury concerns for Jürgen Klopp who is heading into this brand new season with a lot of exceptions on this team with the new signings made. Liverpool are one of the favorites to get some form of silverware this coming season. There was a cause for concern when conflicting reports emerged on the fitness of Dejan Lovren having stated he was fit and ready to go. It’s now not the case, suffering from a pelvis injury which was aggravated during the World Cup playing for Croatia.

The player stated: “After the World Cup finished, the pain increased. I can’t even sit in my car without feeling it and to get out of the car hurts like hell.

“I hoped it would pass during my holiday but it didn’t. As I went for a swim, it hurt. I couldn’t even rest normally.

“I cannot train at all because of it, I am suffering a lot of pain and I will see a specialist doctor in the Netherlands.”

Speaking recently to the media regarding Dejan Lovren’s injury Klopp issued the following statement: “Obviously he is not fit,” said Klopp after the game. “Last year, he already had a few problems with that (stomach problem) but obviously he could play, and he played really well, to be honest.

“His recovery days were always enough, he was in the next session again, it wasn’t a problem.

“He didn’t train a lot at the end of the season because we were more or less constantly playing, but he did play constantly.

“In that time I would say for sure he can train already, but not the full programme. That will then take time.

“Again, it’s something serious, but not that serious. It’s not that we have to be afraid that it takes time or whatever. But at the moment he’s not available.”

One may query why it didn’t come up in his preseason fitness assessment and only after the transfer window shut? It is perhaps an oversight by the club medics on the seriousness of the stomach injury. The length of time Lovren will be out with this injury is not long but Jürgen Klopp cannot be happy at this turn of events. What with Ragnar Klavan enroute to Italian club, Cagliari in a £2 million deal and Joel Matip out with injuries also. It’s another chapter in the centre backs’s career at Anfield.

An interesting insight into his mindset of his views on being a Liverpool player. “Where would I go from Liverpool? It is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I am too happy here to move. We have the team to challenge for the title. We have experience from last season, no key players left and we can be better than last season.”

Understandably the club weren’t expecting to start a new season with three injured defenders and with Joe Gomez only recently returned to some degree of fitness and an inexperienced Nat Phillips to call upon.

Dejan Lovren is a player Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has personally told me he’s not a huge fan of, although he’s had a stellar World Cup, appeared in a Champions League Final and has supposedly been reborn again with his defensive partnership with Virgil van Dijk. No other current player with the exception of Loris Karius has divided fans in their assessment of his abilities in a Liverpool shirt. Having been bought from Southampton for a reported fee of £20 million incredibly becoming the most expensive defender in Liverpool’s history at that time. Now 29 years old and going into a fifth season with over a 100 appearances as a Liverpool player, he still seemly still hasn’t won over the majority of the fans.

It wasn’t that long ago he was being booed by the fans during a 4-1 defeat to Tottenham in October 2017. Some will point out the arrival of £75 million signing, Virgil van Dijk in January this year,  as a catalyst for creating a defensive calmness in the back four that was  missing for a while. Thus improving the defensive performance of Lovren. Speaking earlier in the year on his partnership with van Dijk: “I feel also personally much more confident when you know you have a really good partner next to you. We didn’t take too much time to connect with each other. Usually it takes longer.”

Lovren knows he got a reprieve when van Dijk joined him in defensive duties and his performances did improve for the rest of 2018. But it isn’t enough to stop his detractors from having their say. Highlighting some of the more defensive mishaps he’s had in his Liverpool career.

Oct 2017.
The Croatia international was substituted after just half an hour at Wembley – put out of his misery by Jurgen Klopp after his mistakes had enabled Spurs to race into a 2-0 lead.Dec 2017.

The Croatia international found himself under fire after he was adjudged to have brought down Dominic Calvert-Lewin as Wayne Rooney’s penalty allowed Everton to escape with a point.

April 2018.
Lovren was criticised in particular after twice being outmuscled by Romelu Lukaku in the build-up to both of Manchester United’s goals in his side’s recent 2-1 defeat.

At the World Cup after reaching the Final said Lovren. “We showed our character. We showed that we deserved to be in the final and people should respect us. Sometimes, the criticism is unfair and people should respect me also. Without being arrogant I think I have [been proved to be one of the best defenders in the world]. Definitely.

This comment came to backfire on him immediately after the 4:2 defeat to France in the Final. Fans on social media were quick to ridicule his “one of the best defenders in the world” claim.

There’s is always the suspicion that a mistake is never too far away as, for example, there was with his missed header that allowed Edin Dzeko in to score for Roma in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

Personally I’m not a fan of Dejan Lovren all the mistakes he’s made have all added up to show he isn’t a world class defender as he’s claimed to be. I worry when the opposition attack, rather than go “ah it’s ok our defense will clear it” when the opposition team goes forward. That’s hardly an endorsement of confidence in a player prone to making more defensive errors than any other Liverpool player I’ve ever seen in a Red shirt.

If I had to call up a positive moment of Dejan Lovren in a game it’s one I still vividly remember due to the dramatic ending to the match. The 2016 Europa League quarter Final 2nd leg against Borussia Dortmund. With the game score at 1:3 to Dortmund coming up to the 60th minute (Aggregate 2:4 to the Germans). Liverpool clawed back two goals to make it 3:3 (4:4 on aggregate) Dortmund looked to be going through on the away goals scored. Up steps Dejan Lovrenin the  91st minute of stoppage time to head home in front of the Kop. Wild celebrations ensued on another unforgettable night of European football. For this we are grateful.

Robin McNamara

Former journalist Insight Magazine Dublin & published poet. Currently work at Cartamundi Ireland. Liverpool fan since I was 10. Slowly embracing blogging or whatever this is.⚽️👍🏼✨

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar