17 Jan 2015

Lawro: BR should've signed 'outstanding' Portuguese star instead of £20m flop. 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. Anfield legends Jamie Carragher and John Aldridge are regular critics of the defender, and now, Aldo's former team-mate, Mark Lawrenson has jumped on the bandwagon.

Aldo recently claimed that Lovren is the 'biggest' transfer 'disappointment' of the summer, and Carra blasted the Croatian for making Liverpool 'look worse defensively than last season'.

Lawro seems to feel the same way, and speaking to the BBC on Friday, he scathed:

"I think Liverpool signed the wrong Saints centre-back when they bought Dejan Lovren in the summer, because Jose Fonte has just been outstanding for them".

Given Southampton's superb defensive stats this season, it's hard to argue with that:

* 15 goals conceded in 21 games (0.7 per game; 1 every 1.4 games)
* Best defensive record in the Premier League.
* One of the best defensive records in Europe.
* By comparison, LFC have conceded 27 goals in 21 games.

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.

Why? 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. Granted, the Reds have slightly improved defensively over the last month, but consistency is the key, and two only two clean sheets in the last nine games proves that the team still needs to tighten-up at the back.

As for Fonte - he's 31 now, so a move was probably never on the cards. However, the Portuguese's age isn't making a shred of difference to his performance, and Southampton's defensive brilliance proves that.

On a related note: I still find it tragically amusing that Reds have basically financed Southampton's rise up the table. The Reds splurged £50m on Lovren, Lallana, and Lambert in the belief that they'd help the club move to the next level. Well, so far, it's not working out that way.

I'm sure Arsenal, Spurs, and LFC fans are expecting Southampton to slip-up at some stage, but what if that doesn't happen? Ultimately, if the Saints finish this season above Liverpool in the table, then Rodgers' transfer business will have literally sabotaged LFC's season (!)

Football - it's a funny old game.

Author:



51 comments:

  1. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it? Lovren's had a shit, error-strewn season so far and Fonte hasn't; so with respect to Lawro, any half-wit can come to his conclusion if they choose to. We paid over the odds for Lovren, but the fact remains that last season it was he who was taking the plaudits for his defensive performances. He'll improve I hope.


    Also, Sakho is growing with each game; I don't necessarily buy into the notion that he can't replicate his International form at Liverpool. He just needed/needs a steady run in the team.

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  2. Only 5 goals conceded in our last 7 games, it seems as if the coaching staff are finally getting their stuff together in terms of defending. 343 has helped us become much more dangerous in attack but also a lot more solid in defence. Football is indeed a funny old game.

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  3. And I don't think it's a coincidence that our defence looks much better since Lovren is not in it anymore.

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  4. Yes discount the fact that we actually have a proper Defensive mid in the team actually protecting back 4 .

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  5. Fonte has Schniederlin and Wanyama protecting him
    Lovren had Gerrard and Allen shielding him

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  6. Same with Sakho at France he has Blaise Matuidi and Paul Pogba
    two dms with pace and cover
    Emre Can and Henderson can do that job and protect Sakho or Lovren , Henderson is getting better tactically every game.

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  7. Both injured didn't play today didn't make any difference but should've had penalty given against him

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  8. lovren is crap. scared. not lfc material. we need to buy Lucas Vietto, Dybala and Sissokho

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  9. Sturridge,Origi,Balotelli,Sterling,Markovic,Ibe,Coutinho,Lallana


    we have enough attacking options
    i did not even include the awful players still on our books
    Lambert,Borini,Aspas

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  10. When a team is confident and winning games does not matter who comes in temporarily

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  11. Patrick Ó Fearghasa11:11 pm, January 17, 2015

    Today was the first time in a long time I was impressed with all our defenders. Can looked good and composed, Sakho look solid, and Skrtel dominated.

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  12. Hang on. Lovren isn't that well regarded in Croatia, and to say he performs imperiously is a stretch.
    Sakho hasn't really been bad for us on an individual level.
    Skrtel is occasionally rash but still a decent defender (and he chips in with goals usually).

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  13. You could be right about Rodgers defensive coaching I guess but the fact is that he didn't have a problem at Swansea with this. I am not convinced. Last seasons 'problem' if you could call it that was a question of balance of a young side that was blowing everyone away....but you don't win 12 premiership games on the trot unless you defend competently. People now knowingly trot out the stat that no team has ever won the league when they conceded fifty goals, and they say it as if no team ever could but the fact is..but for some loose turf under Stevie's foot in the Chelsea game (clearly nothing to so with Rodgers defensive coaching) we would not have felt we had to keep chasing the game against Palace even though we were 3-0 up and we would have won the title....despite the fact that Rodgers now allegedly cannot teach a team the basics of defending. We were naive as a young inexperienced team who had never been in the position before....we should have taken what we had and gambled on blitzing Newcastle in the last game to make up the goals. There was a problem in that we have good defenders but had no real organiser in the back four....a player who can see the bigger picture rather than looking to his own performance.....and whilst I am loathe to criticise Carra....Rodgers knew this and that's why he asked him to stay on another year...had he done that he would be sitting in Sky Sports studio with a league winners medal this season instead of criticising his former teammates last year.

    Moving to this season there are a number of reasons for it....injuries forced so many changes to the back line at the start of the season...we were playing 3 new players in a back four in many games.....you can't drill a new defence straight away under those circumstances, nobody can. The issue has been further moved into focus by the problems at the other end too (we have actually conceded less goals than last season at this stage) which forced a change of approach and formation....plus I think just psychologically losing the league like that had an effect particularly on Gerrard and that permeated through the rest for awhile, a lot of whom are relatively inexperienced and/or new to the team/country. He seems to be on the way to sorting the defensive mistakes... we are one of the form teams in the league and all without Studge kicking a ball yet. Lovren got caught in the early season storm and then made some mistakes but will sort out his form and, I still think, go on to be a top player for us. Sakho (whom you regularly write off as a failure) is playing well now we have a settled defence and aside from Lovren struggling all of the new signings are now contributing
    well and could all turn out to be successes, which would be pretty much unprecedented (even Fergie signed a did every 5 or 6 players he bought! If that's the case I hope you will praise Rodgers as much as you have berated him for signing these players already.

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  14. If we were going to sign any of Southampton's current defenders it should've been Alderwiereld.
    I still think Lovren can come good, I think his biggest problem since coming to Anfield is psychological. He and the team in general got off to a bad start and now his head's gone and his confidence is shattered, so he's tripping over his own feet and making crazy decisions. I think he could do with an extended period of time out the team and maybe a few sessions with Steve Peters.
    Sakho is starting to look like a good player. I think people often forget how young he is because he's so huge but he's starting to look far more assured since he's been back in the team

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  15. In the long run Lovren will be fine. He's obviously a good defender but there is something about coming into this Liverpool team that unsettles people at first. Sakho is proving now that he's quality, I think Lovren will do the same. He's got years on his side. I agree that much of this must come down to coaching, perhaps it's just the way that Rodgers sets up the team that makes things so challenging for the defenders. So often they can be exposed and I suspect it drains them of energy and confidence when opposition players can get through so easily.

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  16. get a solid DM and we should solve our defence issues. Lucas has upped his game now and we are grinding out results. And god forbid do not bring Allen into the picture. But knowing Rodgers affinity with him, it's only a matter of time that he will play.

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  17. Borini was good yesterday and I can see him developing into a top striker if played regularly.. His runs were good and he tracked back good..definitely better than Balo presently and would give a fight to Studge if he keeps up this spirt and improves on his performance..

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  18. I have said it before. Southampton have more depth than people realise. Harrison Reed is a very good player and they have many players to replace the ones that get injured. And, they have been very wise in the transfer market. Instead of going after overpriced, average players in the PL, they went after value for money in the European Leagues. If they can do that, why can we not. Why can we not get a Tadic or Mane when Southampton so easily can.

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  19. The problem is not the defender but the way we set up. It is no coincidence that our defence always struggles. It is not that they play bad also. Skrtel and Sakho had really good games yesterday and could easily have conceded multiple goals. I think the problem has been the coaching.

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  20. You tend to neglect these kinds of things when you are in a club of lower magnitude. For example, take the Swansea-Chelsea game yesterday. Swansea made some catastrophical errors. Sure, the players will be criticized for a week or so but then everyone forgets. If Liverpool made the same mistakes, said players would get criticized for months. We do not know whether Rodgers had a bad defence with Swansea or not because it was never publicised. All we have is stats which never tells the whole story. Also, about the league point. We had the best attack in the PL and maybe even Europe. We were destroying teams. If our defence was better, we would not have lost stupid points like at WBA or at Hull. It is those games over the course of a season that lose you the title and that is attributed to the defence.

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  21. Livpool all d way5:53 am, January 18, 2015

    Best defensive record? That was undone yesterday

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  22. I think LFC not getting bargain buys is more along the lines that we cant afford too. which sound stupid but what i mean is that LFC are expected to to pay 20m for a defender, if we went after a player who would cost 5m; the world and all these "experts" would be saying they are crazy if they think this guy will fix their defence. its dumb but I think that's the case, we put all our hopes on a 20m man being a star while another team buys 5 players for that amount and if 1 or 2 of those become stars they are geniuses.
    I think its the pressure of being LFC, gotta buy large not smart unfortunately.
    Just my opinion anyway :P

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  23. Saints front office much better than ours; plain and simple....

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  24. hazy,
    Nice imitation of Borini hand in the mouth thing!!!!!!!!!!

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  25. jk you have again tried to make apples into oranges how can you look at four different ways of playing and come to any conclusion Southampton have played in the same way for the last four managers with two dm in front of the back two always in contact with each other we don't we are much more forward looking which will leave holes at the back i'm not saying are defence is upto it at the min but it is nothing that playing the same two cb wouldn't cure so why not try supporting the team now again instead of using your page to be just another hater

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  26. Exactly right Sheik...............

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  27. For me not to say he is horrible and to give him more time he didn't have to come in and change everything overnight, he was supposed not to be worse than the worst Skrtel I saw, and I saw some bad Skrtel..

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  28. Wonder how fonte would have managed under the intense scrutiny of Anfield

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  29. Lovren is crap so we need to buy 2 strikers and a midfielder lol.....gammon!!

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  30. Too quick to discard Lovren. We buy players and wign them for 3-5 seasons for a reason. Yes the ideal is someone walks in and rips up from the start but of course it doesnt always happen. So you build a squad and a unified team that can help players adapt quickly

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  31. Still doesn't change the fact that Lovern is not a better Defender than Sakho as I've been arguing.
    Sakho unlike Lovern realises that his first job is to defend, he worries less about everything else which is what a good defender does.
    Since Lovren has been replaced by Sakho we have not lost thats not a accident.
    The other addition is the much maligned Lucas I might add.
    Defend a player due to lack of confidence and being told that everyone expected Lovern to be the saviour is insulting and crass.


    The fact is that Lovern replaced Agger and according to Brendan would bring 'leadership' at the back, it hasn't happened.


    Lovern in my view is a good defender but he wants time on the ball, likes to play tricks on the edge of his area.
    Lovern is unable to assert any authority at the back because he make the wrong decisions, thats why he's dropped.


    When you get something wrong it's better to hold your hands up and acknowledge, it rather than wait for any opportunity to justify your words.

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  32. well said Ash

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  33. If Borini was any good, we would have been 3-0 up by half-time against Villa, and would have won 3-0 against Sunderland last week.

    There is a reason why BR wanted rid - we need a better finisher.

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  34. Did you guys actually see the pummmelling we got in the 2nd half? Us winning had more to do with Villa not finishing us off when they had the chance.

    Any other PL team would have walked away with the 3 points.

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  35. It is all about quality for me. It is not like we have not done this in the past. Coutinho and Sturridge cost the same as Lovren. Fans will be more understanding if you get quality even if the price is low. In fact, I feel it better if you buy players for lower prices. If they play well, it is good and if it does not work out, it was a gamble that did not work and you can move on.

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  36. last 8 games 6 wins and 2 draws...1 defeat in last 14..so how do i find something to whinge about ...i know lovern did not play so i will bang on about thatand maybe i will bring down some of those happy lfc fans this morning..maybe monday i will write aboyt how the new stand will be too big .

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  37. Last season it was fonte making the miskakes and Lovren was the top man at Southamton,sometimes player just don't settle end of give it time,

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  38. You show an absolute disrespect for Villa, they are a hamstrung team, screwed over by an owner that has got away with spending £50m over 5 windows, and they still gave us plenty to think about... It's this sort of underestimation of smaller teams that comes back to bite us in the arse.
    As for the pummelling, we kept a cleansheet, so I would suggest the defense had a great game..

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  39. if rodgers wanted a proven finisher he shouldnt have bought a young and relatively inexperienced player like borini in the first place. very few 21 year olds are the best finishers in the world and everyone knew borini was more a 10-15 than a 20-30 goal a season player but thats just his game. definitely deserves to stay as i have been saying for so long and with any luck he is above both balo and lambert now for the foreseeable future at least.

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  40. exactly. in my opinion rodgers has been lucky that allen and johnson in particular have been injured because this has also helped. rodgers no doubt would have continued to play these terrible players and probably will do once theyre back. i said earlier in the season to judge lovren when he played in a team that didnt have the non-existent support of allen and gerrard in front of him, something of a downgrade on schniederlin and wanyama from last season. as of yet he hasnt had that chance but im sure he would be much better as the whole team has been. i just fear rodgers will go back to his old ways when he has a full team to pick from.

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  41. i just realised u already covered my point about schneiderlin and wanyama. i really neednt comment as you were exactly right.

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  42. I'm not sure the defensive woes were all Lovren's fault. Defending starts at the top of the pitch, with the new system their is lots of speed and creativity at the top now this prevents the opposing team pressing forward. With Gerrard out of the midfield and a much more mobile Lucas and Henderson sitting in front of the defence it's made it harder for teams to break through. Then you have the defence itself, Skrtel is playing better because he has a very mobile Can next to him and he doesn't have to cover for Johnson who was always out of position or the slow Toure. Sakho is playing better because he is a quality defender who just needed time to settle. Finally, Mignolet has so much protection in front of him he can relax and focus on doing what he is excellent at, shot stopping. Still needs to improve his domination in the area though.

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  43. Can and Henderson
    have more potential then Schniederlin and Wanyama
    so maybe they can compensate both mobile midfielders

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  44. Bad purchase period. Many a defender could have been purchased, but the transfer committee rather pay more and get $hit. And the proof is in the pudding, he continues to play the bench as he should. A car accident ready to happen. If, big if he had stellar protection it wouldn't make a big difference.

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  45. Don't totally agree with you on that one.

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  46. Brendan rodgers should never of let daniel agger go in the first place, he was the most composed defender we had in the team. Lovern is a downgrade from him in my opinion. I do think lovern will end up being good player for us in time but he was never worth 20 million we paid for him.

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  47. thexcuriousxwanderer9:22 pm, January 18, 2015

    That sounds good, but you can't always get that kind of value. Also, the problem is past a certain skill level the prices soar because of so many teams going after a limited pool of talent. You have to have a few of those talents in a team to push the others and attract more people to join.

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  48. thexcuriousxwanderer9:24 pm, January 18, 2015

    Sakho seems like quite a clever player, I think he will get better as time goes on and he learns the system well. His passing is already quite good, but the problem is his understanding of the attacking game, I think he often passes to feet instead of space. But he will get used to it and if he keeps up the development I think he will be a good player.

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  49. Ben, why do you hate punctuation so much? A full stop here and a comma there would make your point of view easier to read.


    Also, Jaimie has done much to create a site that doesn't fawn over everything footballers and managers say and do. Nothing wrong with his viewpoint.


    Your "try supporting the team" comment is a cheap shot. You can do better than that.

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