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Liverpool gave their fans the perfect Christmas gift with the world record signing of long term target Virgil van Dijk this week.
The Dutch international is expected to make his debut in front of the Anfield crowd against the Reds’ derby rivals Everton in the third round of the FA Cup next week.
While everyone is excited to see Liverpool finally address their defensive problems, there are a few questions that the fans are not much worried about.
One of those questions is: What next for Liverpool’s so called ‘weak link’ Dejan Lovren?
If you stand outside the Anfield stadium and ask everyone around there this question, there is no doubt that more than 95% of them will say with the same tone that they don’t want the former Southampton player anywhere near the team’s first team.
I am a Liverpool fan and I was one among the very few that supported him before, and I guess I am still one of the few to support him even now. Few months ago I wrote an article on how Liverpool fans need to stop being too harsh on the Croat and back him as long as he wears the Liverpool colors.
While we took Mohamed Salah on our shoulders for all those Arjen Robben-esque goals, while we praised our ‘Little Magician’ Philippe Coutinho for forgetting his Camp Nou dreams and step up the game for Liverpool, I believe we Kopites have missed out on something obvious.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been constantly criticised for not addressing the team’s defence since the day he arrived in England. But again, like I said before we all have missed out on something.
If we look at Liverpool’s defensive record since the team’s disaster performance against Tottenham Hotspur two months ago (yes, that embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Wembley), we could see that it is pretty impressive.
The Reds have only conceded seven goals out of 11 Premier League goals since then and Klopp’s men also kept two clean sheets in the three of the UEFA Champions League matches they played in November.
Keeping the two 3-3 draws against Sevilla and Arsenal aside, one cannot deny that the Liverpool defence has been solid. What is more surprising is, one of Liverpool’s most hated players Lovren started in nine of those games. The 28-year-old has an average rating of 7.27 on whoscored.com.
The reason for this is that the player himself stepping up his game and also the slight tweaks Klopp has made in his defence, which again has gone unnoticed by many.
Many believe that the signing of van Dijk means lesser game time for Lovren, but I believe that it is only going to motivate the Croatian even more. I won’t be surprised if Lovren goes on to partner van Dijk in Liverpool’s defence in the near future.
In simple words, van Dijk’s arrival won’t signal the end of Lovren’s career at Anfield but it could possibly the beginning of the best from the player who has always been under the microscope.
Written by Dakir Thanveer
Follow Dakir on Twitter @ZakWriter
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