The right balance between full-blooded commitment on the pitch and composure in the mind is a wise approach for any team. For Dejan Lovren, however, both qualities seem to be even more important for games such as Monday's Merseyside derby. Mike Dean will officiate the game, but avoiding any unnecessary disadvantages early in the game would be helpful given the referee’s track record.
“In a derby you maybe need more sharpness, more aggression,” Lovren said ahead of Monday's Merseyside derby. “We need to be aggressive but we need to play clever - don’t make a stupid challenge and get a red card in the first minute.
“It might be difficult in the first 10 to 15 minutes but after that we will show our face. When we have the ball we need to be calm. If you want to win you have to play football. You have to keep the ball and try to score as many as possible.
“We have a lot of opportunities during games. We are the most creative team in the Premier League with so many chances.”
It's another away trip for Liverpool, but Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan were dependable against Middlesbrough in the absence of Joël Matip—widely seen as the composure and intelligence in defence. Matip could miss out on the trip to Goodison Park, a ground that boasts a far more hostile atmosphere for Liverpool than the Riverside Stadium.
This may be an opportunity for Lovren to show the calming influence, effective aggression, and sharp defending that he's looking for. After all, Liverpool's problem is certainly not scoring goals.