It would be something of an understatement to suggest that Dejan Lovren is a polarizing figure as far as it concerns his role within Jürgen Klopp’s squad. At times this past season, he’s looked vulnerable, at times, he’s looked rock solid. On the whole, he’s arguably had many more assured performances than concerning ones this season, and his partnership with Virgil van Dijk is one that, if it turns out to be the default setting in the coming campaign, is not expected to be a major liability.
At the World Cup, his Croatia side are flying high going into the knockout stages. They’ve looked adept at capitalizing on their strengths and minimizing exposure from weaknesses, and if they can build some momentum, have the capacity to surprise a few people during this tournament. While showing that he’s not beyond the same sort of mistake that tends to crop up in his play for Liverpool, Lovren has, yet again, proven to be a survivor. As his critics and his adherents know, confidence has never been in short supply for the 28-year-old.
“I want to prove that I am one of the best defenders in the world,” stated Lovren. “When some people insult me, it has strengthened me.”
“I’ve been saying for 20 years that Croatia can do something big at the World Cup, but I feel that there is a real opportunity this time,” he added, focusing on the task at hand. “The atmosphere in the team is great and it can’t be compared to the way it was four years ago in Brazil. It’s so different, it’s as if it was two different teams.”
“We’ve been enjoying our football. And now we’ve secured our place in the last 16, which was always our goal, I’m sure we’ll play with even more freedom.”