Few defenders have come in for more flack than Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren this season.
The Croat’s £20m switch from Southampton to Anfield has been nothing short of a disaster in the fledgling stages, but legendary Reds stopper Jamie Carragher is forthright in his opinion that Brendan Rodgers must keep faith with him.
He told the Liverpool Echo:
“He is proven in the Premier League last season and showed he is a very good centre-back, he showed that a lot, but it is difficult for him at the moment – it is difficult for them all – but they will come through it.
…when you pay that much money for a centre-back you have to persist with it and get him through it.
Former Kop favourite Mark Lawrenson recently likened Lovren to ‘a bag of nerves’ in the press recently, while news.bwin.com/en/’s own Thomas Reynolds moved to label the start to his Liverpool life as ‘deplorable’.
Mr Reynold’s take on the matter can be read here, but not all the scribes at HQ subscribe to his theory.
Four defensive errors makes Croatia’s most expensive defender in history more prone to a mistake than any other in the Premier League so far, but it’s strategy, not skill, responsible for Lovren’s substandard showings.
Rodgers’ continual deployment of attacking full-backs often leaves the former Saint over-exposed at the back, which leaves them open to counter-attacks.
This is arguably the worst-case scenario for such a slowcoach of a centre-half; not only does he find himself covering in the deserted left-back regions vacated in Alberto Moreno’s advances, he’s having to defend on the hoof.
Similarly, being screened by one holding midfielder (who doesn’t play this role by trade) is far from optimum protection for a player who shone in a Southampton side that typically deployed two anchormen.
The forever changing face of Liverpool’s backline isn’t helping either.
Lovren is the only player to feature in every league game for the side this season and the constant shuffling of the defence can’t be aiding his bedding in.
Some consistency and tactical tweaks to suit the player are essential if Liverpool fans are to find out exactly why they forked out £20m for this under-fire defender.