By Aaron Cawley.
Throughout their illustrious history, Liverpool have always had top quality centre backs. Players like Sami Hyypia, Phil Thompson, Alan Hansen, Jamie Carragher, Phil Neal and Stéphane Henchoz, all invoke memories of sturdy Liverpool defences that didn’t get turned over too easily.
Liverpool have missed a strong pillar at the heart of its defence since Jamie Carragher retired in 2013, and over the last four years they’ve become some what of a leaky ship in defence.
Brendan Rodgers attempted to plug the leaks when he brought in Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren, but with the latter playing in the heart of Liverpool’s defence, it seems like the holes have gotten bigger instead of being plugged.
For me personally, Lovren is one of the worst centre backs Liverpool have had in the last 20 years. At times he looks like a deer caught in the headlights when the ball comes in to him in the box. Other times he looks like Bambi on ice, when he tries to clear the ball.
When Jürgen Klopp took over in October 2015, I was hoping that one of the players who would be getting his P45 would be Lovren.
When it was announced that Cameroonian Joël Matip was joining the squad for the 2016/2017, it was hoped by many that Klopp’s preferred pairing would be Matip and Sakho. But then Sakho went and did a Mario Ballotelli and burnt all his bridges with the Liverpool hierarchy last summer in America.
As a result of Sakho’s stupidity, Liverpool fans faced another season of a hopeless Lovren in defence.
And for a while it worked. Alongside Matip, Lovren it appeared found a leader who could tell him where to go and where to put the ball.
His performances improved as did Liverpool’s. We were all drawn into a false sense of security that Klopp had actually turned Lovren in to a half decent defender.
But it wasn’t to last. Matip picked up an injury before Christmas and with no leader in defence telling him what to do, Lovren slipped back to his usual mistake laden self.
Looking at his stats for this season so far, he has played 20 games, created 6 chances and scored 2 goals. On average the Croatian defender makes 9 defensive actions per game. In the 20 games he has played this season he has made just the one defensive error.
While looking at those stats, you would think he was having a decent season. But Lovren has been at fault for goals scored by Chelsea, Burnley, Bournemouth, Spurs and Arsenal. While these don’t go down a defensive errors, this shows how poor Lovren has been this season.
But it’s not just this season that Lovren has been poor, since he has signed for Liverpool, he has made nine defensive errors, more than any other Liverpool player, including Alberto Moreno. Just let that sink in.
With rumours floating around that Liverpool are set to offer Lovren a new contract, I ask the question, why John? Why?
Are you doing it to try and annoy the fans who are looking to get rid of FSG, or are you trying to tell us that Klopp actually rates the error prone centre back.
I would like to see the money that’s being offered to Lovren be spent on a decent centre back. Whether it’s an established player like Jonathan Tah or an up and coming centre back like Hull City’s Harry Maguire.
Both of those players could do a better job at the heart of Liverpool’s defence than Lovren even if they had one leg tied behind their back, and were blind in one eye.
In the short term, hopefully Joe Gomez can get a prolonged run in team, and playing alongside Matip for the next 14-15 games would bring him on leaps and bounds.
Lovren’s time at Liverpool is hopefully coming to an end and fans won’t ever have to see a centre back pairing of Lovren and Lucas Levia ever again. For many watching those two trying to defend is the definition of a nightmare.
So please oh please let this be Lovren’s last season as a regular starter for Liverpool because of it’s not, well I’m going to need a heart transplant and it’s going to be solely down to Bambi on ice.
If Lovren does leave Liverpool, he’ll always have that goal against Borussia Dortmund to live off.
For an alternative, more supportive view on Lovren, read: Why Liverpool Fans Should Show Lovren Some Love