Like him or not, you’d better get used to him. No, sorry. That’s a terrible opening line. But also something to think about, he said slyly. Because today, the man who has perhaps had the most up and down of careers at Liverpool, the player with the greatest ability to quickly gain and lose supporters faith with his one-of-a-kind combination of tenacity and delirium, has signed his name to a new long-term contract with the Reds. His name is Dejan Lovren and there is certainly something about him.
Lovren has made one hundred and five appearance for the club since joining from Southampton in 2014. It was a rocky start under Brendan Rodgers that led to a slightly less rocky middle as Jürgen Klopp took over. Then it got a bit sandy for a time. Then rocky again. Then sandy again. And now we’re here at the end of Dejan’s third season at Liverpool and the ground is feeling maybe more like a small gravel. Nothing expensive. Something okay for the garden until more funds are available.
No matter the position of fans, however, Lovren himself is tickled pink to be extending his stay.
“I think I am the happiest guy today,” Dejan said. “It’s a dream come true. It was always my dream to stay as long as possible at one club that I love. And that is Liverpool.”
Well, that level of reverence kind of puts a damper on my opening paragraphs but this isn’t a time for looking back. We must expand into the future. And if the future holds Champions League football for Liverpool then Dejan Lovren will be a part of that fight. If he and Joël Matip can continue to strengthen their connection on the pitch then that would be excellent for the club, too.
Imagine it: a rotation of Matip, Lovren, Joe Gomez, and a big summer signing (*cough* van Dijk) has some promise to it, right?
“I am pleased with everything,” added Lovren, “and I just want to stay here as long as possible and be a part of this family for many, many years to come.
“I am glad I will be a part of this team and this plan for the future.
“We are a really talented team with many special players and an amazing manager. The club is fantastic.”
Lovren’s loving words may hit you right in the heart. And that toothy grin may draw you in. But the defending still needs improvement. And for that we must look to Klopp to sort out the mistakes.
In closing, and in fairness, I point you towards Anfield, April 14, 2016. Dejan Lovren’s finest moment in red. 3-3 against Borussia Dortmund. Europa League quarter-final. Lovren gets on the end of a James Milner cross to put Liverpool up 4-3. Winner.
The place went wild. I’ll never forget his face. He would have ripped the sky open with that intensity. And the spit. I’m here all day for that spit, right?