Dejan Lovren appears to have won the Liverpool fans over after a difficult debut season at Anfield.
The defender was a scapegoat during a disappointing campaign last term after his £20 million move from Southampton in the summer of 2014.
However, after the arrival of manager Jurgen Klopp in October, Lovren’s performances have seen him become a regular in Liverpool’s line-up and an important part of their defence.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay5
This was epitomised during the Reds’ last Premier League match.
Klopp’s side were 2-0 up against Lovren’s former club, Southampton, at half-time when the German boss subbed the Croatian in the fear that he might get sent-off after already getting booked.
His replacement Martin Skrtel had a shocking 45 minutes, giving away a penalty and being blamed for his team’s collapse which saw them lose 3-2.
Kopites were left questioning why their manager had brought off Lovren.
The arrival of Klopp
Earlier this month, Lovren admitted that the appointment of Klopp has changed his Liverpool career.
“In the time, since Jurgen has come things have changed a lot,” he was quoted as saying, per the Liverpool Echo.
“I changed also because I really like his work. This pressing and, I would say, the need to be always 100% ready for the fight in the training and in matches.
“I will not say Jurgen gave me the confidence, but he gave me like the push: ‘Hey, you are a good player and here is your chance. Take it,’” he added.
Cacic is fuming
While Lovren and Klopp appear to have a great relationship, the 26-year-old can’t say the same about his national boss.
Ante Cacic, head coach of Croatia, has blasted the Liverpool man for his attitude during their 1-1 friendly draw against Hungary on Tuesday.
It’s understood that Lovren, was was named as a substitute, was asked to warm-up but returned to the bench shortly afterwards, much to the anger of his manager.
"He did not refuse to get on the pitch... because no one invited him to come on," Cacic told Sportske Novosti, per Goal.com.
"But do you think it is up to Lovren or any other player to decide how long will he warm up? Or is it [the] coach's decision?”
Cacic added: ”Also, I didn't specifically tell him to warm up, I told all the benched players because it was cold in Budapest. So all of them went to warm up.
”I will not tolerate such behaviour because no one is more important than the team. Lovren made [a] step backward, away from our squad.
"We didn't talk after the match, we will see what is going to happen, but I will not tolerate such acts and he made [a] wrong move,” he concluded.
Lovren, who has 31 caps for his country, better start grovelling in the bid to earn a place in the Cacic’s 23-man squad ahead of the European Championships in France this summer. Croatia find themselves in a tough group consisting Czech Republic, Spain and Turkey.