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Rodgers Raves About Defender's "Perfect" Debut

Following his first match for Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for £16M centre half signing Dejan Lovren's perfect debut.

Clint Hughes

With eight of Liverpool's starters against Borussia Dortmund regulars from last season's first eleven, Liverpool fans saw the benefits of continuity and seeking to build upon an existing squad dynamic rather than completely overhauling it. With the three new players slotting in seamlessly, it also served to confirm Brendan Rodgers' focus on finding fit rather than looking to sign stars.

"I've been really pleased with all of the signings because they have all come in as part of our strategy and the types of profile of players that we want," said Rodgers, who has repeatedly insisted that despite the numerous signings so far this summer, his goal is to add depth and quality to a side that finished second last season rather than to take the Luis Suarez money and build something new.

Solid outings for Javier Manquillo and Emre Can gave fans at Anfield their first taste of a pair of players who already look comfortable within that existing framework, and the scouting team and transfer committee deserve credit for how well they already seem to fit. The standout, though, was Dejan Lovren, who were it not for Philippe Coutinho's would have been man of the match.

"Dejan was perfect—he's what we've been looking for since Jamie Carragher left," enthused Rodgers, who is believed to have been the driving force behind the club's £16M defensive signing. "He's a very dominant centre-half. He'll go and attack the ball, reads the game incredibly well and you can see his leadership qualities with his talking and guidance of the back four.

"You also saw his range of pass on both sides, left foot and right foot. His pass into Coutinho for the first goal was wrapped in with his left foot and that creates the nick around the corner to get us the goal. Like he showed us last year, he is dominant in the air in the other box, attacking it. I thought he was excellent."

He was, inarguably, and so it seems unthinkable that he won't start against Southampton on Sunday, almost certainly alongside Martin Skrtel and with Javier Manquillo and Glen Johnson filling the fullback roles as they did on Sunday. If Alberto Moreno does arrive this week, it seems likely the Southampton match would come too soon for him to start.

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