Only just returning to the starting eleven after picking up a knee injury in the draw with West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren put in a solid performance in the win over Leicester City on Boxing Day. Often the subject of ridicule from pundits and punters alike, the Croatian center-back rightfully earned himself a reprieve from the criticism, but he was quick to talk up the contribution the entire team made in keeping a clean sheet against the league leading Foxes.
“We were doing a great job, like a team, defensively. Everyone,” he told the club’s official website. “Divock [Origi] in the first half, then [Christian] Benteke after, Roberto [Firmino] – everyone was doing a great defensive job. Then, we just need to wait to score to win. [Leicester] had a great last couple of games, they won against big teams, but it’s difficult to come to Anfield and [get] something,” he continued. “It was a massive win for us because it’s Boxing Day and we needed the points because we had not the best game the last time against Watford,” said Lovren, before adding, “Today, everything was about a fighting game and I think we showed a great team spirit, [we were] aggressive, attacking all together like a team.”
Video courtesy of @MrBoywunder
While the stats don’t always tell the whole story, they do give a pretty accurate picture of what a monster performance Lovren put in on Boxing Day — completing 90% of his passes, the Croatian helped his team along to enjoying an impressive 65% of the ball. Although Leicester weren’t exactly their usual attack minded selves, the threat they did pose was blunted by the 26-year old who won 6 out his 8 aerial duels and made a staggering 18 clearances.
“Yeah, it was very, very important for us because both the centre halves were injured. Dejan trained this week with the team for the first time, it was not that long an injury but he was out two weeks,” said Jurgen Klopp when asked about the performance of his defenders. “And yeah, you saw Mama (Sakho) before the injury, then last week and today, it’s difficult to come in. Nobody’s waiting for you, you have to be prepared from the first second, there’s no time to come in easy, but they did really good,” continued the German manager before joking about some of the dodgy passing he witnessed coming out of their own half. “I said both played one of these passes – I said ‘If you want to kill me, take a knife, don’t play these passes, you don’t have to’,” he laughed, flashing his familiar smile. “Everybody is running, everybody’s won the ball and then they play these. It’s an invitation to counter-attack. But the rest was really good, the clean sheet was very good for us.”