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Liverpool's £20m Transfer for Dejan Lovren From Southampton Set for This Week

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Liverpool's pursuit of Southampton and Croatian defender Dejan Lovren is reportedly coming to a successful conclusion this week, with a deal set to be completed in the next few days.

Paul Thomas

Liverpool have long been linked with the signing of Dejan Lovren and Brendan Rodgers' pursuit of a centre back to provide leadership for the heart of defence is coming to an end. The Croatian international and World Cup star has already communicated his supposedly fierce desire to join Liverpool and his wishes are close to happening as news has arrived on Sunday that Dejan Lovren should be a Liverpool player sometime next week. Lovren will be the third Southampton player moving to Liverpool this summer after Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana and the fourth major player to leave the club this summer. The reliable Tony Barrett confirmed that Liverpool can expect a fifth signing to be wrapped up shortly.

So, Liverpool will have Dejan Lovren presumably starting alongside Mamadou Sakho in central defence. Where this leaves Daniel Agger and Martin Škrtel is unknown but this brings greater competition in a seemingly troublesome position where leadership and communication was lacking at times last season. Kolo Touré remains a reserve, Sebastián Coates exists as the forgotten man whose future is uncertain, and the likes of Andre Wisdom and Tiago Illori will develop their games on loan.

Dejan Lovren is a tough centre back who has experienced playing under pressure at Olympique Lyonnais where he displayed considerable potential as a young defender along with worrying issues with consistency and discipline. In truth, it was a surprise that he moved to Southampton last summer when he had been linked with a move to one of European football's bigger clubs for quite some time but he proved that he an excel in the Premier League in a tactical set up that isn't too dissimilar from the one Rodgers has put in place at Liverpool.

Lovren can play on both sides of central defence to partner any of Liverpool's current crop and this flexibility will be attractive in the event of injuries to other centre backs over the course of the season. That alone isn't enough to warrant playing for Liverpool so it is reassuring that Lovren is composed in possession and bringing the ball out of defence, which places less pressure on the single pivot as defenders can be trusted to pass the ball over a variety of distances. Lovren's reading of the game is good and he is one of those defenders who scores highly in making interceptions.

As Mamadou Sakho is poised to start on the left of defence and Brendan Rodgers doesn't see Daniel Agger as a candidate to partner the French international, the most pertinent question is whether Lovren is an upgrade on Liverpool's remaining centre backs. The answer from last season's performances is undoubtedly positive and Lovren will need to show that next season as he will have plenty of work to do for a Liverpool side that has a particular predilection for relentless, attacking football with Steven Gerrard as the single pivot in midfield.