Buoyed by a steady performance in Liverpool’s win over Manchester City at the weekend, Reds defender Dejan Lovren is eyeing an extended run in the starting eleven. With defensive mainstay Martin Skrtel almost certain to miss out through illness, the Croatian center-back will be looking to take charge when the Reds run out in the Europa League later today.
“I would say it has been ups and downs but the most important thing is the present. I am feeling settled and happy in the club and we are playing well,” said the Croatian defender ahead of the meeting with French side Bordeaux. “I have been tested so many times in my life, even at other clubs, so this is just another school for me to learn. When I am in bad situations, I have great people around supporting me,” he continued. “I came here to be a leader and I still feel I can lead a team. I am a person who likes to shout and talk during the game. It is not me if I only think about myself,” explained Lovren, before adding, “I think when I’m quiet then I am nervous so it is better to be the opposite. When I am shouting I am concentrating more.”
Video courtesy of Fooball TV 2
After enduring a torrid first season on Merseyside, the former Southampton defender has shown signs of improvement during his sophomore year, but a serious brain fart in the loss to West Ham United back in September was an ample reminder that if you’re 100% focused when you’re playing football at the top level, you’re going to get found out. Jurgen Klopp, who looks to be whipping Liverpool’s once shambolic defense into shape, should be able to help with that — and he’ll probably have to put in an overtime shift or two if Lovren expects to cement a place in the starting eleven.
“Every player is important in the team – Sakho is of course – but I did not come here to be on the bench. I am playing now and really comfortable and focused to play my best game,” stressed the 26-year old, obviously not content with spending extended periods of time on the bench. “The most important thing is to go step by step, not look forward eight games,” mused Lovren before acknowledging the added stress that comes along with being a player that’s under the microscope. “There is a pressure on me but it’s like that in every job.”