Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren hails manager Jurgen Klopp’s restorative powers ahead of Bordeaux
Dejan Lovren is starting to show why Liverpool paid so much for him, and the Croatian says it is all down to Jürgen Klopp
“It has been ups and downs but the most important thing is the present and now,” said the centre-half. “I am feeling settled and happy in the club. I have been tested so many times in my life, even at other clubs, so this is just another school for me to learn. When I am in bad situations I have great people around supporting me.”
Lovren, like Alberto Moreno, Mamadou Sakho and Lucas Leiva, was out of form and favour prior to Klopp’s arrival. All have flourished in the last few games, and while the 26-year-old emphasised he put no blame on former coach Brendan Rodgers for his previous troubles, he confirmed defensive players find life more comfortable under the new manager.
“I think yes. It is much easier now because we are working much harder than before and we are – I would say –playing like a team now with everyone feeling comfortable,” said Lovren.
“It is two different teams – definitely. Of course the manager has a big influence on the team and everyone has that confidence and every one of the players has changed their opinion of football.
“He said we need to be 24 hours with football and the job and payback everything on the pitch.
“It is always easier when a manager has a belief in your team and in yourself. It makes it much easier to play and gives you the confidence that even if you make a mistake, afterwards he will talk to you and explain to you the wrong things and good things.
“I am playing now and really comfortable and focused to play my best game. The most important thing is to go step by step not look forward eight games. There is a pressure on me but it’s like that in every job.”
The contrast with the toils of before is natural, and inevitably seems critical, but Lovren said of the Rodgers era: “I don’t want to talk about the past. It was not just the manager’s fault. Us, the players, too. I want to forget it and just concentrate on the future.”
With Martin Skrtel suffering with illness, Lovren might find himself the most senior defender against Bordeaux on Thursday. His intention is to ensure Mamadou Sakho’s recall is not inevitable once the Frenchman has recovered from a knee injury.
“Every player is important in the team. Sakho is, of course, but I did not come here to be on the bench,” said Lovren.
“I came here to be a standard player of Liverpool. Your games will talk about you and of course at the end the manager decides and no-one will guarantee you a place in the first eleven. But the manager is fair. Definitely.
“I came here to be a leader and I still feel I can lead a team. I am a person who likes to shout and talk during the game. It is not me if I only think about myself. I think when I’m quiet then I am nervous so it is better to be the opposite. When I am shouting I am concentrating more.”
While Klopp assesses new injury problems in defence – and will also be without Philippe Coutinho (hamstring injury) – Daniel Sturridge is in line to make his first appearance under new management.
“The best news is Daniel is getting closer. He has trained 7 or 8 times in a row – the longest since I was here,” said Klopp.
“Christian Benteke is also in good shape. That is important too, so we are in a good position in this moment.
“My decision you will see but yes, the most important thing is Daniel can train without problems. If it can be a few moments or more (he plays), we will see in the game.”
Liverpool have flourished on their travels under Klopp but are still searching for consistently at Anfield. Klopp has rejected suggestions Liverpool are more suited to playing away.
“Usually in football it is not the biggest difference and we should not make a bigger point of it as it is,” he said.
“We know about the results and that is all. What we have to develop first is our performance and that is what we did. Of course it is a results game. I read Crystal Palace deserved to win (the last home game), but only our first 15 minutes of that game was bad. There were a lot of things better. You have to talk about the good things as well as bad. There is not a big difference between home and away games. It is not easy to play against us – most goals against us are set-plays – but Crystal Palace was more paying the price because we had to handle two competitions. We know what we have to do.”
Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Toure, Lovren, Moreno; Lucas, Milner, Can; Lallana, Firmino, Benteke.
Bordeaux: Carrasso; Guilbert, Sane, Yambere, Contento; Plasil, Chantome; Poko, Jussie, Rolan; Diabate.