Jurgen Klopp has moved to instil Dejan Lovren with massive confidence ahead of the Champions League semi-final with AS Roma tonight.
The Croat missed our weekend draw with West Brom but should return to the side alongside Virgil van Dijk for the crunch Anfield tie.
Klopp reckons that on paper, Lovren is literally the perfect central defender:
‘I don’t exactly know about Dejan’s start at Liverpool but he made a few mistakes,’ he told the Guardian. ‘People always have that in mind: ‘Oh, Lovren again!’ But I’m long in the business. I said to Dejan: “If somebody told me, come on, you have the chance, create a centre half. We found a way to do it, genetically, bam, bam, bam.”
‘That’s him, strong, quick, both feet, can head like crazy, jumps through the roof. He’s all you need. Yes, a few things you can improve – his concentration. But these are human beings.’
Klopp also refers to the 28-year-old’s occasional mind-wobbles, but in fairness, since van Dijk arrived, these have become much less frequent.
The partnership has been impressive, but the defenders need to deal with Edin Dzeko tonight, the kind of physical forward Lovren’s often struggled with.
Thankfully he’ll have van Dijk, who is undeniably world-class, alongside him.
Here’s our predicted XI for the evening: Karius, Trent, Robertson, van Dijk, Lovren; Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino