Liverpool legend talks up Dejan Lovren’s ‘fantastic’ qualities
Former Liverpool captain Mark Wright believes Dejan Lovren has impressive passing ability
Mark Wright has defended under-fire Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren.
The Croatia international endured a forgettable first season at Anfield following his £25m move to Liverpool from Southampton last summer.
I think maybe at times he didn’t do enough of that and we conceded more goals than we’d want to concede, and a lot of them were from set plays
Lovren struggled to recreate his form from his first campaign at the Saints which prompted Brendan Rodgers to drop the centre-half down the pecking order.
While Wright believes the centre-half is good technically on the ball, the former Reds captain admits Lovren needs to toughen up to be a success at the club.
“His passing range is unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable. When you see him strike a ball, whether he clips the ball, bends the ball. Everything about him, the attributes are there,” Wright told Liverpool’s website.
“[But] when you’re a centre-half your job is to destroy and that may sound really old school, but you’ve got to destroy. If there’s balls to be won in the air you’ve got to win them.
“It’s not about creating a goalscoring opportunity at the other end. That’s not the way I see defenders, you’ve got to put your body on the line.
“If people are shooting and it’s going to hit you in the face, let it hit you in the face. If it hits you in the stomach, let it hit you in the stomach, take the knocks, take the blows and dish it out.
“I think maybe at times he didn’t do enough of that and we conceded more goals than we’d want to concede, and a lot of them were from set plays.
“I’d rather have big strong boys who destroy everything, and if Liverpool get back to those boys and doing the right things, I think Liverpool will have a good season.
“I think the players that they have can achieve that but I just think they need to be more dominant when they play.”
Lovren, who was one of eight summer signings at Anfield last year, started 22 Premier League games for the 18-time English champions last season.
The former Lyon defender made a further 12 appearances in cup competitions and he scored his only goal for the Reds against Swansea City in the League Cup fourth round.
The Liverpool centre-half was omitted from Croatia’s most-recent squad for their 1-1 draw with Italy in their Euro 2016 qualifier.