Since Jurgen Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers in October, there has been a significant transformation regarding the form of some of the Liverpool players, none more so than Dejan Lovren.
Before Rodgers received his marching orders, the Croatian defender was the centre of criticism and after so many disastrous performances, deservedly so. He was nowhere near living up to his £20 million price tag last season and the supporters’ patience was diminishing. His lack of improvement at the start of this campaign suggested this could be his last in a Reds shirt – until Klopp worked his magic.
Since his arrival, the German’s mentality has spread through the team becoming a key factor of a rejuvenated Liverpool side, unleashing a new-found confidence in each player and Lovren is a prime example.
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Sunday saw the Croatian play in the opening 45 minutes against his former club, Southampton last weekend. He produced a solid performance, helping his side go into the break two goals to the good. However, having been replaced at half-time by Martin Skrtel, the Reds went on to lose 3-2, outlining the influence the 26-year-old has had recently.
With a transformed Liverpool side looking to take to the stage next season, it could be suggested that a summer clear-out is inevitably on the cards. With regulars such as Simon Mignolet, Jordan Henderson and Alberto Moreno’s position at the club uncertain, any one could find themselves heading for the exit come the transfer window, including Lovren. Despite slumps at the start of his Anfield career, his rejuvenation is an obvious sign why the boss should be reluctant to let him go.
Becoming a regular starter under Klopp alongside Mamadou Sakho, the new and improved defensive duo have allowed the Reds to excel in the clean sheet column throughout the course of this season. Since the German’s arrival, Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in 40 percent of their outings, compared to 27 percent under Rodgers.
This season, Lovren has shined in his no-nonsense defensive play in comparison to the role which saw him concentrate on his passing techniques and guidance under Rodgers.
This allows the 26-year-old to focus on interceptions and clearing his lines, a role more comforting to his ability. When the Reds faced Leicester at Anfield at the end of 2015, the duo made 36 clearances between them and with the form the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have showcased, that was a positive sign of a new defensive partnership.
When fit, Lovren has started all but one game under Klopp, becoming a fans favourite, showing consistency and will undoubtedly give Joel Matip a run for his money when he arrives in the summer.
The Croatian was the name on Liverpool fans’ lips last season for all the wrong reasons. Now, the rejuvenated star is starting to claim the plaudits and with Klopp looking to sell some of his regular starters in the summer, he shouldn’t even consider doubting Lovren’s position at the club.