To say that Dejan Lovren had a tumultuous start to his Liverpool career would be putting it mildly. After alienating fans of his former club and setting off a few alarm bells with fans at his new one with some misjudged words, he was made The Reds' most expensive ever centre back by Brendan Rodgers. The Croatian was then thrust into the starting XI two seasons in a row, ahead of fan favourites and better defenders in Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho. A long line of shaky performances followed, and the former Southampton man became a sort of symbol for his manager's struggles; supremely confident, increasingly inept and defensively suspect.
A clean slate was offered the players with the arrival of Jürgen Klopp, and while he found himself third choice under the new manager, injuries to Sakho and Martin Skrtel provided Lovren with an opportunity, one that he grasped with both hands. Questions about his passing and positioning remained, but his forward surges seemed more well-measured, the defensive mistakes dried up, and his supreme physicality started to shine through.
Sadly, just as he was having his resurgence, Lovren suffered a hamstring strain in the cup clash with Stoke City at the start of the year, and has been out of commission since. He shouldn't be out for much longer though, to hear him tell it:
"I’m very satisfied with my injury, it’s going really quickly again.
"I cannot say exactly but I’ll be back soon, hopefully this week. We will not take a risk for one or two games. We still need time, but I’m coming back.
"[There are] so many games and, unfortunately, so many injuries also. The Premier League is so tough but we have a good squad, a big squad and a new player in, so it’s good."
Actually being excited about Lovren coming back into the side is an odd emotion, but on current form, it is well-deserved. With the club suffering hamstring injuries to each of their centre backs in the last month, and with emergency solution Steven Caulker's Liverpool career a mere three days old, there is little in the way of consistency at the position, so Lovren is likely to slide straight back into the starting line-up upon his return. And for the first time in his Liverpool career, that's going to be perfectly fine.