Klopp laughed off the idea of a European, knockout clash being decided in one fixture, yet Liverpool did exactly that away from home – less than 24 hours ago against Porto. What a start, and what a statement on return to the elimination round of Europe’s most elite event.
A five goal banquet met by one of the most convincing clean sheets I’ve witnessed Liverpool achieve under Klopp. Score, lead, concede, and REPEAT! The drill, and what one has come accustom to in recent years. However, last night was an amazing illustration of consistency, and determination by the Reds’ backline to repeat Sunday’s convincing victory over Southampton.
This is no normality – but has been showcased more than once, since our repulsive FA Cup exit. This team who we entrust to concede game after game, has since then – kept three clean sheets, while only letting in two goals in the process. The most surprising point to come from this well-demonstrated defensive display – Lovren’s been the most consistent defender out our three first-choice, central defenders.
Liverpool with Lovren starting:
He’s now featured in two of the three games, where Liverpool has managed clean sheets. Spurs’ robbery was the only game Klopp’s team were unable to carry out their duties. But we all know Jon Moss, and his team of official ball busters, kicked Liverpool plumb in the nuts. Sitting here, knowing I’m praising Dejan Lovren was the last thing I thought I’d be doing during this stage of the Reds campaign.
In the time the Croatian has been so prolific protecting the goalmouth, he’s partnered up with both Joel Matip, and Virgil van Dijk. Terminating any notion – it’s only due to van Dijk’s arrival, the big money signing.
Give credit where it’s due
Give credit where it’s due as this is certainly the time for credit giving. We jump at the slightest chance to criticise our backline, and especially this man, when they are proclaimed to be one of the worse defence’s in the Premier League. Now we’ve had a spread of four games with little, to almost no fault from our infamous Lovren, and little has been spoken about this man.
Van Dijk has lifted Lovren
If anything, the arrival of van Dijk has simply elevated the form, and performance of the rest of the players occupying the same position as the Dutchman, especially, Dejan Lovren. The surety, decisive decision-making, everything was on point by the big Croatian. Both him and van Dijk carried the ball forward with ease, playing long passes, almost inch perfect, and snuffed out any threat Porto launched at them. Lovren and Van Dijk literally threw themselves at Porto’s attacking prowess and demonstrated a burning desire to come out on top – a beautiful site, and a refreshing thing to witness from the men in red.
Dejan Lovren’s stats vs FC Porto:
|Aerial Duels Won||7|
What stood out most was the change in formation, and the inclusion of Matip to the backline, when Klopp opted for three central defenders, rather than two. A decision that had to be made – as Porto were extra attackers heavy, and Liverpool had their fullbacks pushed up the pitch. This did however; work perfectly in Klopp’s favour, as the three nullified any late elapses the Reds are known for.
What added to the brilliance of this decision was the fact, Liverpool was able to add a late goal, and Lovren was able to adapt to a new formation, seamlessly. This all stranger things to mention about a team who are at the bottom of the barrel – when talking defensive line ups.
Long may the doubtful Croatian defender, see such convincing performances and we as the fans, the team, reap the benefits of outstanding results, such as last night’s whitewash.