Liverpool have been linked with Southampton central defender Dejan Lovren and could continue their raid on the south coast after previously submitting a bid for their captain, Adam Lallana.
The Reds are in dire need of defensive recruits after having conceded 50 goals last season. Letting in awful goals all season is, predominantly, what cost them the league title. Brendan Rodgers will be well aware of what his squad needs and it is defensive leaders and players capable of locking the back door.
Lovren was linked to Liverpool last summer but Southampton moved quickly to bring him over from Ligue 1 in France. He’s had a great season at St. Mary’s, too, achieving the club’s second highest Squawka Performance Score, 824.
The defender could fit in well at Liverpool and even impressed at Anfield earlier in the season, when the Saints left with all three points. Lovren, in fact, scored Southampton’s only, yet winning, goal of the game on the 53-minute mark to dampen moods on Merseyside.
We could take a look at Lovren’s statistics for the entire 2013/14 season but cannot get a true reflection of what he could bring to Liverpool, should he sign for the Reds, other than comparing him to their current set of central defenders.
To start with Performance Score would be ideal, specifically his defensive Score. Lovren has as Defensive Performance Score of 636.62 which is far better than any of Liverpool’s defenders, despite having played five games fewer than their top-ranked defender, Martin Skrtel.
Lovren also won more tackles (48) last season with Skrtel (36) coming second. Over an average of 90 minutes, Lovren still tops the charts with 1.55 successful tackles. This time, Mamadou Sakho, who has won 25 tackles in total, comes second with an average of 1.52 successful tackles per game.
So judging by that stat alone, should Lovren play next to Sakho, Liverpool would win the ball back a fair bit.
In terms of headed duels, Skrtel tops the charts with 125 successful duels. Lovren sits second on 98 but over an average of 90 minutes, the Southampton defender is a bit closer to the Slovakian. Skrtel averages (3.49) slightly more successful headed duels than Lovren (3.16) per 90mins.
So, after just a couple of departments, it is obvious that Lovren would bring a lot of aerial dominance and power on the floor when tackling. He’s a strong central defender and uses it to his advantage regularly. He knows his strengths and uses them well.
In terms of clearances, he’s made more than Sakho (137) and Daniel Agger (118) but Lovren’s total of 250 is a long way away from Skrtel’s incredible 423. The Liverpool defender, who has played all but two games this season, has made more clearances than anyone else in Europe so Lovren’s figure isn’t too bad in comparison.
It is clear that Lovren would be an astute signing for Liverpool, based on the statistics at hand. He is a powerful defender and wins a lot of his contests and challenges. He seems calm on the ball, too, and is a threat from set-pieces.
If Rodgers can sign Lovren for a decent fee – possibly under £10 million – he would be an excellent addition to his side and a player capable of filling the gaps that were so exposed last season.