He cost Liverpool FC £20 million during the summer, and was meant to be the rock at the back as the club pushed for their first Premier League title since the 1989-90 season. With Liverpool keeping a clean sheet in just 18% of all matches this season, Anfield’s famous Kop are starting to think the signing of Croatian defender Dejan Lovren has backfired…but should they be so surprised?
Liverpool, who had high hopes this season after finishing 2nd in last season’s Premier League, languish in 11th spot with just 14 points after 11 rounds, conceding 15 goals in the process. There are eleven players on the pitch and four at the back, so the finger can not squarely be pointed at the former Dinamo Zagreb centre-back. Maybe not, but stats don’t lie, and one stat, courtesy of Squawka.com, that will be of concern to coach Brendan Rodgers, and Croatia boss Niko Kovač for that matter, is that currently Lovren has made more defensive errors in the Premier League this season than anyone else.
In contrast to Lovren’s awful start to the season, the club he was signed from last season, Southampton, are currently enjoying a defensive renaissance which sees them lie 2nd in the Premier League, conceding just 5 goals in the process.
Saying that Lovren has failed to live up to the high expectations the Liverpool fans had when he was unveiled back in July is an understatement. Anfield’s faithful might not have been expecting the £20 million former Lyon man to make such diabolical errors as the positional one he made when Chelsea scored their opener on the weekend in their 2:1 victory over the reds, but those more accustomed to them may not be so surprised.
A number of football analysts in his native Croatia have questioned his ability at times, and highlighted his susceptibility to mistakes. Belgium striker Romelu Lukaka and Scotland’s Robert Snodgrass, just two who know them very well. Both capitalizing on Lovren’s positional errors during Croatia’s last World Cup qualifying campaign.
Lovren may need time to settle into his new club and may well become the best defender the club has ever had, but those who raised their eyebrows at the £20 million fee have so far been proven right.