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Gary Neville Labels Dejan Lovren As "Naive" To Give Away Costly Derby Penalty

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The Sky Sports analyst called the decision to give Everton their first penalty at Anfield in nearly 30 years soft but justified.

West Ham United v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Dejan Lovren has come under fire on several occasions this season and another high-profile blunder that resulted in a late Wayne Rooney penalty cost his side three points in the Merseyside derby. The Reds had been comfortably nurturing a one goal lead earned through another Mohamed Salah wonder strike in the first half and looked set to easily see out a rare 1-0 against an insipid Sam Allardyce side.

However, Lovren’s old nemesis—defending in space—came back to haunt him yet again, as a Wayne Rooney long ball over top to some kid named Dominic Calvert-Lewin caused the Croatian to panic enough to give away a penalty when standing and doing nothing was clearly the correct choice.

While Sky Sports analyst, Gary Neville admitted that the Blues striker made a convincing case for an Oscar nod by going down under the slightest of pushes, he still faulted the Liverpool center back for needlessly giving the ref a decision to make.

“They just got a little caught forward,” the ex-Man United defender said in the post-match analysis. “Look, it’s soft the penalty, Lovren’s complaining at the end, he’s whinging at the referee. But I always think if you give the referee a chance and he did."

"It’s just those hands, you can see it from behind better. It’s naive from Lovren, it’s naive.

"I think Calvert-Lewin knows exactly what he’s doing, it is a soft penalty,” Neville continued. “He has gone down for it, he’s played for it absolutely he has.

"But I think Lovren is experienced enough to know what is going to happen now. It’s not as if it’s his first game in football and I think Liverpool have only got themselves to blame, just not really taking the chances that they should have done."

Coming into the match nine games unbeaten and with a chance to leap frog Chelsea into third in the league table, Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool somehow managed to only take one point when three would have been easier. Nonetheless, the Reds now have a mere three days to shake off the disappointing result before welcoming a slumping West Brom to Anfield as the chaotic festive period ratchets up a notch.