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Dejan Lovren FeelingConfident Ahead of Derby Debut

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His first season at Liverpool hasn't started particularly well, but Dejan Lovren is confident nonetheless that he'll turn in a solid performance ahead of his first Merseyside derby.

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Clive Brunskill

Dejan Lovren is a talented defender who rightly earned plaudits last season for a string of excellent displays at the heart of the Southampton defense. He was a mainstay under Mauricio Pochettino, helping the Saints solidify their spot in the Premier League two seasons after promotion with an eighth-place finish. Lovren was a leader at the back, showing a good balance of strength, aggression, and composure, and while the price tag surprised, it wasn't completely unexpected that Liverpool were in for him this summer.

Since arriving, he's failed to strike a similar balance, finding himself at least partially culpable for a handful of the goals Liverpool have conceded in the early season. He's far from the only one at fault, with Simon Mignolet struggling in the early season and neither of Martin Skrtel or Mamadou Sakho convincing, but such is the fate of a player anointed as the Jamie Carragher incumbent.

It's not a mantle he asked for, of course, but it's at least one that he wears well off the pitch, particularly when underlining his confidence ahead of what's sure to be another manic Merseyside derby:

"I can't wait. I know it's a big derby and there will be a lot of passion, especially playing at Anfield. It will be a tough game, for sure - Everton are a good team. But I'm confident. I already know about the derby - the passion, the fans - and I know it's something special. It means a lot to the fans when you win the derby. I know what to expect in the game and the atmosphere. When you play a derby, it is tough every time. But the Premier League is already tough. It will be like every game for me, I'm ready for everything."

Hopefully "ready for everything" means "ready for increased positional responsibility, willingness to trust his defensive cohort, and increased frequency of balls played along the deck rather than fifty yards to the head/feet of the opposition." Thus far he's been a one-note defender rather than the balanced leader that the club pursued; too impulsive, too fanciful with the ball at his feet, and unwilling to delegate responsibility as part of a defensive unit that is desperately in need of cohesion.

The player Liverpool bought this summer can provide that, and the sooner that version of Dejan Lovren shows up, the better. Like, maybe tomorrow afternoon.