Croatia defender Dejan Lovren may have been wronged by referee Yuichi Nishimura during the 2014 World Cup opener against tournament hosts Brazil, but the Southampton centre-back still showed the world why Liverpool are so keen to secure his services this summer.
The 24-year-old produced a disciplined and professional performance in testing circumstances - and didn’t deserve to be on the losing side at the Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo. He certainly didn’t deserve to earn a yellow card and concede a penalty. Brazil striker Fred conned Nushimura by going to ground despite minimal contact inside the box, allowing Neymar to step up and convert his second goal of the night.
Lovren and his teammates - along with Croatia boss Niko Kovac - were understandably infuriated with the match officials come the final whistle. But, provided they stay focused for their remaining matches against Mexico and Cameroon, there’s no reason why they can’t progress to the knockout stages. Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric’s performances in midfield caught the eye, but Lovren deserves just as much praise for a display which would have made Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers even more convinced this is the perfect man for the Reds’ defence.
However, in order to secure Lovren’s services this summer, Liverpool will need to fend off stiff competition from Barcelona. The Catalan giants are reportedly keen on the £15 million-rated defender - but whether or not the La Liga outfit will be prepared to pay that sum of money for a player with minimal Champions League experience remains to be seen.
He’s certainly more than good enough to be competing in Europe’s premier club competition. He proved a revelation with Southampton in his debut season with the south-coast club, but this is an ambitious player with aspirations of fighting for titles, hence why he recently submitted a formal written transfer request demanding to leave the Saints.
He might not be Scouse, but Lovren has all the attributes required to become Liverpool’s new Jamie Carragher. Like the Anfield legend, the Croatian is a leader with the ability to rally those around him. Technically, it could be argued that he’s even better than the Sky Sports’ pundit was in his heyday.
Lovren would surely jump at he opportunity to become Liverpool’s new defensive icon - all the Reds need to do is cough up a cool £15m - which will end up looking a bargain after one or two seasons.