Dejan Lovren has been named the best central defender in the Premier League this season.
No, that’s not a misprint. Again, Dejan Lovren has been named the best central defender in the Premier League this season.
That’s at least what we’re expected to believe, according to sports statisticians The Football Observatory, who say their information indicates the Croat was not only number one in England, but also near the top ten on the continent – 12th place overall in Europe.
To anyone who has actually watched Lovren this season, in what has been an incredibly difficult debut at Anfield, this declaration will come as something of a shock, with poor form and low confidence conspiring to make it a campaign to forgot at Anfield.
Just take the former Southampton man’s performance during a defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this season…
A laughable attempt at a clearance as United broke forward saw Lovren scoop the ball into the direction of Juan Mata.
To be fair to Lovren, it’s not like any of his defensive teammates can claim to have done much better throughout a particularly poor campaign for Brendan Rodgers’ side.
But these are the kind of individual mistakes he wasn’t making when at St. Mary’s under Mauricio Pochettino.
Indeed, over recent games Lovren has started to put in more encouraging displays, for instance it was his impressive clearance off the line that allowed Liverpool to claim a point from a trip to the Hawthorns against West Bromwich Albion.
In this instance it would have been incredibly easy to see the ex-Saints man somehow contrive to stick this in the back of the net.
Kop-ites will be hoping this is just the famed ‘first-season syndrome’ – though this doesn’t usually apply to those already accustomed to Premier League action as Lovren was and more the new, foreign imports – and a sign of things to come in his second campaign at Anfield.
The numbers supposedly never lie, but in this instance we might suggest they have and suggest The Football Observatory perhaps invoke a little common sense and don’t try and disprove what their eyes are telling them.