It has not been the best week for Dejan Lovren after lasting just over half an hour during Sunday’s miserable 4-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. Jürgen Klopp hauled Lovren off after the defender made a memorable addition to his catastrophic collection in Liverpool colours.
When Lovren is at his worst, he fits in with the ghastly defending that runs through the division. The Premier League is full of poor to mediocre defenders waiting to get bamboozled as Pep Guardiola has learned; however, the top six should be better than that. As usual, Liverpool are falling desperately short of even boasting an average defence. Klopp may have been angry on Sunday, but nobody forced him to persist with Lovren and Simon Mignolet over the past two years.
Should they be the subject of unrelenting ire when Klopp stubbornly wheels them out despite reality’s stern objections? What was most curious is Lovren’s predictable reaction. His career is littered with proclamations that the responsibility is never his when difficulties arise so it wasn’t a surprise to see him remove Liverpool Football Club—an institution he is lucky to play for given what he’s shown since becoming the most expensive defender in the club’s history—from his Instragram profile.
Nevertheless, Klopp was outwardly understanding and supportive despite his wariness of social media in general and probably Lovren’s increasingly precarious position in the 50-year-old’s plans to improve the defence.
"Social media is difficult enough to handle, I would say," Klopp said. "That's why I'm not part of it. I have no idea why people are doing it, to be honest. Everything is okay. Dejan had a good training week. You'll see what we will do for tomorrow, for the game line-up-wise.
"It's not about the last game - in general, it's about the next game and what we think will be the best line-up, that's all. We had a normal week and of course it was not the nicest week of Dejan's life but, at the end, it's only football.
"People don't become a better or worse person after making a mistake in a football game."
Klopp continued: "I don't wish for one of you for your mistakes to be discussed in public. You cannot even imagine or have any idea how it feels. In the first case, they're still human beings.
"Watching an accident, people standing around with smart phones instead of helping - I'm not this kind of person. If I think about Dejan, I have as much or more positive than I can think of negative things.
"He is a player of Liverpool and that is how I treat him, as a member of this family. It's clear that I help him if I have to help him."
Unfortunately, there is no more help to give Lovren. The fact that the young and talented Joe Gomez is the only real alternative is damning enough, but Joël Matip needs someone better than Lovren alongside him. Matip also needs to improve, but older and unsuitable Ragnar Klavan is in the same league as Ádám Bogdán: he has no business being anywhere near Liverpool’s first-team squad.
It is what it is.