It’s hardly news that one-man omnishambles Dejan Lovren is not having a great time of it at the moment.
In fact, questions about his ability and form have been asked for quite a while now:
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 16, 2017
But such is the level of ridicule hurled at the unfortunate Croat recently that it’s pretty hard not to feel a bit sorry for him.
Especially when you see this kind of thing:
Die Lovren you piece of fucking shit you make me sickkkkkkkkk. Please Allah, give Choirul Huda back and take this guy instead
— The Oracle (@Mediocampo_ID) October 22, 2017
Against Spurs, Lovren may well have turned in Liverpool’s dodgiest defensive performance since, well, whenever he previously turned in Liverpool’s dodgiest ever defensive performance, but he doesn’t deserve that kind of vitriol.
Besides, it’s not as if he’s to blame for the entirety of his team’s problems.
Playing alongside the likes of Ragnar ‘Mr Reliable’ Klavan, Joel ‘opposition assist machine’ Matip, and Alberto ‘I only go forwards’ Moreno can’t have helped Lovren much. But in fairness to Liverpool’s defenders, their central midfield generally afford the backline all the protective capability of a condom that’s been used as a mattress by a pair of randy porcupines.
Jordan Henderson is usually too busy rehearsing his next sideways five-yard pass – or visualising how he’s going to get the ball back after his next first touch inevitably rebounds to the nearest opponent – to actually remember to screen his back four from opposing attacks.
Still, the Reds captain does rather more of that than Emre Can, who’s far more likely to trip over himself performing a double rabona dragback than to track runners through the centre. Without the conscientious Wijnaldum around to add a bit of nous, things are even worse.
And let’s not even get started on the goalkeeper.
Mignolet typically looks about as comfortable with his handling as Edward Scissorhands trying to put on a pair of shin-pads after swallowing a big bag of magic mushrooms. Coming off his line he looks as decisive and competent as David Davis negotiating Ukrainian tractor subsidies with a Belgian cultural attaché.
It can’t help Lovren and his backline colleagues to be operating in front of a man who inspires confidence about as much as a papier-mache step-ladder.
In truth, Liverpool can be shaky in almost every position except when it comes to their wonderful attacking cohort.
Salah, Coutinho, Mané and Firmino are a thrilling set of footballers – they’d be at home in any side in the world. Their presence makes Liverpool a formidable outfit, a team to be genuinely feared. But they can’t do it all by themselves.
Liverpool are lucky to possess a manager who is capable of moulding what’s there into something special – though by the looks of things he’ll need a bit more time than expected in order to do so. They’ll be just fine, but currently, the attacking unit looks a class above what Liverpool have to offer everywhere else on the pitch, and as a result the team looks disjointed.
Dejan Lovren is simply one factor in that. Despite his – admittedly ridiculous – recent performances, he’s far from the only one who bears responsibility.