|Date of Birth||
5 July 1989
|Place of Birth||
Zenica, SFR Yugoslavia
1.88 m (6'2")
Dejan Lovren (born 5 July 1989) is a Croatian international footballer who played as a defender for Liverpool for six years.
Following Liverpool's unsuccessful attempt on the title in the 2013-14 season, in which Liverpool's prolific attack was largely deemed to have been let down by a leaky defence, reports surfaced that manager Brendan Rodgers had identified Southampton centre back Dejan Lovren as the commanding defender needed to shore up the backline. Reports circulated that Southampton rebuffed a £20,000,000 bid from Liverpool shortly after Lovren was believed to have submitted a transfer request. Following the bid, Lovren gave an interview in which he stated "my head is already at Liverpool," and accused Southampton of breaking promises to him. Eventually, the impasse in negotiations was breached and Liverpool completed the signing on 27 July 2014, reportedly in a £20,000,000 deal with a £16,000,000 initial fee. This makes Lovren the most expensive defender in Liverpool's history. Liverpool had also acquired Lovren's Southampton teammates Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana earlier in the transfer window, with Lovren concluding a hat trick of signings from the South coast club.
Upon signing, Lovren said "It's a dream come true. I'm happy and glad to be here. I'm proud and can't wait to start. Liverpool is more than a club," before taking to Twitter to enthuse "I just signed a contract with one of the biggest club in football history, the great #LiverpoolFC!!" Brendan Rodgers stated "This is a very important signing for us... He is a commanding and powerful presence and clearly has leadership skills, which is important; he fits the profile of player we are looking for." The next day, it was confirmed that Lovren would take shirt number 6 at Anfield- recently vacated by Luis Alberto who had moved on loan to Malaga.
Visa problems meant Lovren could not immediately link up with his teammates, who were on their pre-season tour of the USA. His non-competitive debut came on 10 August 2014 in Liverpool's home 4-0 win over Borussia Dortmund. Lovren netted Liverpool's second goal with a header from a Steven Gerrard corner. Brendan Rodgers described Lovren's performance as "perfect." He then made his competitive debut on 17 August 2014, playing the full 90 minutes of Liverpool's season-opening game against Lovren's former club Southampton, with the Reds recording a 2-1 win.
Lovren's early season form however came under some scrutiny as Liverpool continued to leak goals amidst a stuttering start to the campaign. On 20 September 2014, Lovren suffered a head injury after he and Mamadou Sakho attacked the same ball, with the Croatian coming off much worse. He had to complete the rest of the match with his head bandaged.
On 4 October 2014, Lovren conceded a penalty in Liverpool's tie with West Brom. He made a rash tackle on forward Saido Berahino, however replays suggested the foul was outside of the box. Berahino subsequently scored the penalty. The Reds however won 2-1. As the Reds continued to struggle defensively in the early part of the season, Lovren came under increasing criticism- in addition to his defensive team mates- from fans and pundits alike, with many questioning the wisdom behind Rodgers' £20,000,000 outlay to recruit the Croat. Lovren experienced a reprieve however on 28 October 2014 as he notched his first competitive goal for Liverpool. Deep into injury time in Liverpool's 4th round League Cup tie at home to Swansea, with the score level at 1-1, Lovren was left unmarked to head in Philippe Coutinho's free kick and seal the win.
Despite this, Lovren's detractors grew in number as Liverpool continued to falter. Finally, on 29 November 2014, Brendan Rodgers dropped Lovren to the bench for Liverpool's home tie against Stoke with Kolo Toure taking his place in the team- a move welcomed by most fans. Liverpool produced a more assured defensive display and earned only their third clean sheet of the Premier League season to date with a 1-0 victory.
Lovren returned to the team for the Reds' Champions League clash at home to Basel on 9 December 2014. With Liverpool needing a win to secure qualification to the next round, they could only manage a 1-1 draw. Lovren retained his place in the team for the coming games with Brendan Rodgers trialling a three-at-the-back system, however on 17 December 2014, Lovren had to be withdrawn at half time in Liverpool's League Cup clash away to Bournemouth with a groin injury.
Lovren made his return from injury on 10 January 2015 as a second half substitute in Liverpool's 1-0 win away to Sunderland. Lovren had had to settle for a place on the bench in Liverpool's preceding matches owing to the good form of Mamadou Sakho in his absence.
On 26 February 2015, Lovren played the duration of Liverpool's Europa League tie away to Besiktas. After a 1-0 loss, the tie went to penalties, however Lovren missed the decisive penalty to send Liverpool out of Europe.
Lovren began the 2015-16 season as the first choice centre back, starting the first three games alongside Martin Skrtel, and keeping clean sheets in all of them. This led to the manager stating that the fans are seeing a "different Dejan". However, in the next game, Lovren was seen as culpable for two goals in a 3-0 home defeat to West Ham. On 23 September 2015, Lovren suffered an injury in a League Cup win over Carlisle, which ruled him out for around a month.
On 28 October 2015, Lovren made his return from injury, playing for the first time under new manager Jurgen Klopp. Lovren put in a solid performance in a 1-0 win over Bournemouth. After an injury to Mamadou Sakho, Lovren returned to the starting lineup, and put in one of his best performances in a red shirt in a 4-1 win at Manchester City. He was later nominated for the Premier League Player of the Month for November.
On 13 December 2015, the Croatian was withdrawn with injury from a 2-2 draw with West Brom, seemingly set to be out for a while. Two weeks later however, Lovren made his return, starting alongside Mamadou Sakho in a 1-0 win over top of the table Leicester. On 5 January 2016 however, Lovren suffered another setback, being withdrawn from a 1-0 win at Stoke with a hamstring injury. To show Lovren's progress in proving himself to the fans, the Croatian was named the Standard Chartered Player of the Month for December. On 6 March 2016, Lovren was named man of the match after a starring performance in a 2-1 at Crystal Palace.
On 14 April 2016, Lovren scored a last gasp winner to beat Borussia Dortmund and send Liverpool into the semi-finals of the Europa League. The centre back headed home from a James Milner cross to make the score 4-3 to Liverpool with just his second goal for the club.
Lovren began the 2016-17 season seemingly as first choice centre-back after Mamadou Sakho fell out of favour with Jurgen Klopp. On 16 September 2016, Lovren scored his first Premier League goal for the club, volleying in a lovely first time finish to give Liverpool the lead in a 2-1 win at Chelsea.
On 29 October 2016, Lovren put in a very mixed performance in a 4-2 win at Crystal Palace. The Croatian was judged to have made mistakes leading to both Palace goals. He did also however head in Liverpool's second goal from a corner. On 31 January 2017, Lovren made his 100th appearance for the club, starting in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
On 23 April 2017, Lovren was criticised for being at fault for both goals in a 2-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace. Just five days later, it was announced that the Croatian had signed a new three year contract, with the option for a further year extension. This was met with mixed reactions from the Liverpool fanbase.
Despite fans demanding the signing of a new centre-back, and a lot of reported interest in targets such as Virgil van Dijk, Lovren began the season in the starting lineup alongside Joel Matip. On 13 September 2017, Lovren missed a simple clearance, allowing Sevilla to open the scoring in an eventual 2-2 draw at Anfield.
On 22 October 2017, Lovren was substituted after 31 minutes, after being at fault for two Tottenham goals, and came under a massive amount of criticism from fans and pundits around the country. Jurgen Klopp said "The first goal would not happen if I am on the pitch, in my trainers." Lovren missed missed Liverpool's next two games, before returning as a late substitute in a 4-1 win over West Ham. After the Tottenham performance, Lovren revealed he had been receiving death-threats from Liverpool fans on his Instagram page. To show support for the Croatian, fans voted him as the club’s player of the month for October.
On 10 December 2017, Lovren gave away a late penalty in the Merseyside Derby, allowing Wayne Rooney to equalise and draw the game at Anfield. The majority of pundits and journalists agreed that it was a good decision, but manager Jurgen Klopp refused to accept it, stalwartly defending his centre-back. Six days later, Lovren opened his account for the season, diving in to head home Liverpool’s second in a 4-0 win away to Bournemouth.
After a tough first few months of the season, Lovren’s performances were seen to be improving alongside new signing Virgil van Dijk. On 10 March 2018, Lovren and Trent Alexander-Arnold were singled out to be at fault for a 2-1 defeat away to Manchester United, with Lovren failing to deal with Romelu Lukaku in the air on each goal. On 21 April 2018, Lovren was criticised for playing Salomon Rondon onside for a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with West Brom. Three days later, he was seen to be at fault for an Edin Dzeko goal in a 5-2 win over Roma, with Lovren failing in tracking the flight of the ball.
On 6 May 2018, Lovren made his 150th appearance for Liverpool, starting in a 1-0 defeat away to Chelsea. A week later, Lovren scored the second in a 4-0 win over Brighton, with an emphatic header for his second goal of the season. On 26 May 2018, he started in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. Lovren was one of the Reds’ best performers, putting in a solid defensive display, and assisting Sadio Mane’s goal with a towering header.
After helping Croatia to the World Cup final, Lovren returned to Liverpool unfit ahead of the 2018-19 season, missing the start of the campaign. In this time, impressive displays from Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, as well as a resurgence from Joel Matip, led to Lovren dropping to the club’s fourth choice centre-back. He ended up with just 18 appearances at the end of the season. He did however, finally win his first medal with the club, as he was on the bench for the victory over Tottenham in the Champions League.
In the 2019-20 season, Lovren continued from where he left off, making few appearances as a reserve centre back. He did however, start in a vital victory over Manchester City in November, helping Liverpool to go nine points of the champions. His contributions through the campaign earned him a Premier League winners’ medal.
On 27 July 2020, it was confirmed that Lovren had moved to Zenit St. Petersburg, for a reported fee of £10,900,000. He departed the club as a champion of England and Europe, having made 185 appearances for the club, netting 8 goals.
- Standard Chartered Player of the Month: 2 (December 2015, October 2017)
|Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
- Dejan Lovren player profile at LFCHistory.net