12 Nov 2014

Aldo tells BR: Dump £20m LFC 'disappointment' and replace him with 'outstanding' star ASAP. Agree...?

For whatever reason, £20m summer signing Dejan Lovren is having a hard time making an impact at Liverpool, and the criticism of his performances seems to intensify with each passing week. In a recent column for the Daily Mail, Reds legend Jamie Carragher blasted the Croatian for making Liverpool 'look worse defensively than they did last season', and now, goalscoring hero John Aldridge has called for Brendan Rodgers to bite the bullet and drop the beleaguered defender.

Aldo recently claimed that Lovren is the 'biggest' transfer 'disappointment' of the summer, and in his Tuesday column for the Liverpool Echo, he observed:

"Lovren hasn’t become a bad player overnight, but it’s clear he’s lost a bit of confidence and is not the same player he was when he arrived at the club in the summer. He needs to regain that poise and a bit of swagger and it may help him if he’s taken out of the firing line for a spell".

With four mistakes leading to goals so far, Lovren is the Premier League's most error-prone defender, which is a surprise given his consistently solid performances for Southampton.

Many fans - myself included - expected 'outstanding' defender Kolo Toure to come in for Premier League defeat to Chelsea, but Rodgers went with Lovren yet again, which suggest that he's trying to give his first-choice defensive partnership every opportunity to succeed.

In my view, irrespective of Lovren's current form, this is the right way to approach things, and I've made this point many times in the past. Defensive solidity cannot be achieved with an ever-changing central defensive duo; consistently, familiarity, and rapport are essential to creating an effective defensive unit, which is why Rodgers should play his first-choice unit as often as possible.

There's no point bringing Toure in for just one game as this is only a short-term solution. That said, it's a different story if Rodgers intends to give him a run of games in the team, and is prepared to keep him in the team on merit.

It seems unlikely, though - Lovren is the most expensive defender in LFC history, and if the manager leaves him on the bench for an extended period and plays a free-transfer in his place, I'm sure FSG will have something to say about it.

Prior to signing Lovren, I argued that he'd be under the most intense pressure, and that's exactly what's happening. After last season's defensive shambles, everyone expected the Croatian to come in and change everything overnight, but that hasn't happened, and he's consequently getting it in the neck for failing to be LFC's saviour.

Rodgers' defensive coaching is (arguably) a major part of the problem. The manager is developing a reputation for turning good defenders into chumps. Sakho plays well for France; Lovren performs imperiously for Croatia, and did a a great job at Southampton, but at Liverpool, both players are seemingly incapable of reaching the same level.


The common denominator is Rodgers and his coaching team, and if Liverpool are to have any chance of making the top four this season, something clearly needs to change.

As Aldo says, Lovren hasn't become a bad defender overnight. Prior to signing for Liverpool, he delivered years of solid performances, and hopefully, in time, he'll recapture his confidence and form.

The question is, can Liverpool afford to give Lovren time to play himself back into form?



  1. These are the kinds of decisions the manager needs to make and I don't think it's clear what should be done. If Sakho was fit I think we'd see Lovren on the bench already, however the only other option is Toure and in the long term I don't see that will help much. If Sakho was promoted he would be a good chance to lock down the spot, take it on and keep it. Lovren would then have to prove himself worthy of getting that spot back, work hard in training and earn it. I agree - what you want is stability, not short term changes. Toure just isn't going to command a regular starting role so just putting him in there for a few games doesn't really achieve a whole lot. Maybe that's harsh on Toure and he actually is capable of being a first choice CB but it just seems that his place in the side is mostly on the bench. Players rarely go from being 3rd choice to 1st choice.

    Lovren doesn't need a break or some time to collect himself. He needs to regain confidence in his own ability and his decision making. I also agree that a good deal of that comes down to the manager and the defensive coaching. These guys are good defenders but a few weeks at Liverpool and they seem to end up looking second rate. I wonder if adjusting to a new system (and perhaps a not well coached system) has damaged Lovren's instincts and after a couple of mistakes he's started doubting himself. For me the solution isn't to drop him, it's to make sure there is a clear plan for him to get back to his old form. If Rodgers can clearly identify what has gone wrong and has methods to work through that then there should be no problem sticking with Lovren. However if the only solution the manager offers is to keep going and keep trying without doing anything differently then there is a big problem. Still, the solution is less about the player and more about the coaches.

  2. And the knife comes out again

  3. The lack of confidence in the back four stems from their lack of confidence in the goal keeper behind them. Change him to a more commanding keeper and they will be ok

  4. It's definitely due to a badly coached system. What kind of well coached team (defensively) leaves FOUR players around the 6 yard boxed UNMARKED in the process of a corner taking place!?

  5. Been saying this for over 12 months.
    By the way (to JK), why do you quote Aldridge so often. Every interview I ever hear with him he just repeats what fans were saying six months earlier - he's never had an original thought of his own. So, he's an ex-player... I know hundreds of people who drive and have no idea how to fix a car... and I'm old enough to remember him managing Tranmere...

  6. I quote Aldo because he (along with many of the other 80s legends, such as Barnes, Beardsley, Hansen etc), is one of my favourite LFC players. He may have similar opinions to other fans, but the point is to spark discussion/debate about Liverpool. Plus, fans like to hear what ex-Reds are saying about the club, even if they're late to the party.

  7. it's easy, get in a proper defensive coach...
    Just imagine Carra comming back to instruct our defence

  8. B.R only needs a little bit of extra time.
    To completely stuff Liverpool season.

  9. Don't jus blame defenders goalie needs to be looked at as he is nt doing much communication with his defence

  10. It's Rodgers insistence that the defenders tap it around the back four that's the problem most defenders and even those we have brought in are not built this way and in turn every error is magnified because it's usually always a silly stray back pass or pondering on the ball that becomes the problem. Acquiring defenders with the ability to play the ball around as well as defend at the highest level is a near impossible find, we need to play to each defenders strength leave the tiki taka to the attackers and fullbacks the only thing the CB's need think about is positional awareness and defending and basic direct passing and let the more advanced players take up that mantle. Smart teams will just pressure high up the pitch hoping to snatch the ball of immobile defenders and in today's game players have the level of fitness to keep it up for the best part of the match. Last year as an attacking force we where a joy to watch but we still had frailties that in the end cost us the league, but as it stands this season as a defensive unit we seem even more frail and as an attacking unit goes we have been very light to say the least. Rodgers needs to be able to blend his philosophy of tiki taka with no nonsense defensive play Lovren last season at Southampton was exceptional and Sakho has been immense for France, Skrtel was arguably our best defender last season we are blessed with some very good defenders but the way they are being coached is the problem let;'s face it BR bought Lovren, Sakho and Toure in and with the exception of Toure we wouldn't call them cheap buys he needs to adapt his tactics to suit them or they'll just prove to be a square peg in a a round hole that Rodgers tries to shove them in.


  11. I thought Liverpool bought lovren bcoz of his leadership attribute as a defender as we lost the leadership of cara. I want to believe that he will be a great leader in our back line soon..we bought too many players in summer n they need time to gel..I think our game improving in every game..if emre can stay fit,he will be our summer best buy at the end of the season..we are improving..but two or three summer buy will have hard time to settle into the team..since we bought young developing player,they deserve some times to meet their potential...Liverpool will be fine at the end of the season..keep sturidge,Henderson,sterling,can,moreno n skrtel fit then we can get our consistency..

  12. Where does this "Lovren performs imperiously for Croatia" cone from? That's not what I have seen or heard. Not that he is bad for them but imperiously? Nah. Some of the blame needs to be levelled at Rodgers and his team as Jaimie says but not all of it. Some of the mistakes are just plain basically stupid. The lad needs time out and to just watch some of the best defenders for a while to understand what needs to be done but more importantly what doesn't need doing. He also needs lots of practice in the air. He miss times too many headers and his passing at times is atrocious. Something that could never be said of Sakho.

  13. And the DM in front of them. Lovren is picking up the slack because he is the new guy in so it must be down to him. It's not. That's the simpleton's point of view. Lovren is a top class, world class defender suffering from the failings of his manager. Wrong transfers, derailing our tactics and attacking ability, causing us to play closer to our own goal, without a DM to break up attacks and start counter attacks, piling pressure on our defenders, causing more dead ball situations, with a goalkeeper who can't handle them. It's not Lovren that is the problem.

  14. skrtel lovern toure sakho all useless..go to spain or germany and find top 5 teams defensive partnership ......shimple..burnley and leicster know how to defend but lfc cant ?

  15. Yes mate I think simple man would suite Aldridge better than.you to be honest.

  16. the lower ranked teams even know how to attack, not just defend
    how good were QPR against City
    and on the other hand, it is a boring game watching LFC play now
    unlike last season, when it would be excitement with anticipation of watching the free flowing football
    alas, it is good old memory now

  17. Mate as bad as Skrtel has been also Lovren takes the stick bec ause he has been ridiculously bad. Have you even seen him.play for us? World class? When? He looked good for Soto and had one good season at Lille the rest of yhe time he has been ok. Yhe wrong transfer was him. The wrong tactics? Playing him. The other problems you mention are right but he IS a problem too. Hos decision making, passing and heading have all been terrible.

  18. He was so composed in his first game but with each passing game, I cringe when he is on the ball. What I do not get is how our defenders are so clueless on the ball that they just pass it between each other.

  19. Yes, I'm also hesitant to lay the blame at the feet of Lovren and co until the DM farce is sorted out.

    It's a strange one, because Rodgers played with a dedicated DM (in the mini-Busquets mold) at Swansea and came in with that philosophy. Methinks it's because Stevie G is no longer able to sustain a press higher up the pitch that he's shoehorned the captain into a deeper role, which has its benefits but obvious drawbacks, too, given Gerrard's unfamiliarity with the defensive side of midfield.
    Who wants to be the manager that benched Steven Gerrard, especially when you already the manager that replaced King Kenny?

    The penny will have dropped, though, which might be why we are seeing the William Carvalho rumours.

  20. That is why I hate that Sakho got so much stick. Passed forwards more than Skrtel and recieved the ball more too (as the stats say) which is probably because he was getting passed to by Skrtel and Mignolet. Yet despite that his passing accuracy never dropped below 90%. No defender like being under pressure but some deal with it better. One thing is for certain though teams have looked at those teams that make us lump it long and copy. We need more options for the man on the ball I think at times but the CBs have to be a bit more courageous. Jaimie would refer to these passes as hospital passes when Sakho did them but I would take that all day long compared to Skrtel to Lovren to Skrtel to Lovren to Mignolet ad infiinitum.

  21. In the Newcastle game I noticed a terrible lack of movement from our midfielders when both they and the defenders had the ball. It was excruciating to watch, and that kind of static behaviour makes it difficult for centre-halfs to play positive passes.

    Lovren must still have skill; it's a confidence issue now.