Jurgen Klopp has revealed he was well aware of the struggles of Dejan Lovren before he took charge of Liverpool in October but has been left pleasantly surprised by the Croatian's quality.
The defender, who cost £20million to sign from Southampton in 2014, has come in for more criticism than most from the demanding Liverpool fans when results go against them. After flourishing for the Saints, Lovren has at times struggled to cope with the added pressure of playing in front of the Kop.
So loud was the criticism coming from the Liverpool fans, it managed to reach Klopp in Germany, but after almost four months in charge, the former Borussia Dortmund manager has now made his own judgement on the player.
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And, seemingly disagreeing with the consensus around Merseyside, Klopp has only nice things to say about Lovren, insisting that, since his arrival in October, he has only gone up in his estimations.
Klopp told the Telegraph: “I heard the supporters were not too happy with the performances of Dejan when he came in. I can’t say anything about this. Since I came here he gets better and better.
“He has shown how strong he is and for me. I’m not surprised about this. I knew about his quality. I was a little bit surprised about what everybody told me about him.
“I am happy for him that he can show this now. It’s very important that he stays fit and can train and we defend as a team like we did (against Leicester) so it is easier for the centre-halves.”
Lovren came in for plenty of praise following his commanding performance against Premier League leaders Leicester on Boxing Day, including the in-form pairing of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.
It served to remind fans exactly why Brendan Rodgers and his transfer committee agreed to pay £20m to sign him and fans were quick to unleash a barrage of praise on Twitter.