Liverpool played out a fortuitous 0-0 draw against Manchester City on Sunday evening, with Riyad Mahrez's wayward penalty ensuring that the two teams are now locked on 20 points with Chelsea at the top of the league.
Jurgen Klopp sprung a surprise in his starting line up switching in Dejan Lovren for Joe Gomez, with the England man put to right back at the expense of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
At the full time whistle, Liverpool counted their blessings and fans touted Dejan Lovren as man of the match after a gutsy performance upon his return to action.
But while the Croatian was effective overall, and his stats appear impressive, that nagging feeling that he will cost his side still remains.
Dejan Lovren vs Man City
2/3 aerial duels
5/7 tackles - most on the pitch
Solid. ?? pic.twitter.com/S1D13uduPH
— LFC Stats (@LFCData) October 7, 2018
This was no more evident than in the 20th minute when a miscued Gomez clearance fell to Aguero in the box. Lovren was right up the Argentinian's backside and appeared to knock into the striker with his leg sending him tumbling.
Anfield waited for a whistle... it didn't come. Strangely Aguero didn't protest, and Lovren got away with it. It would have been a soft one to concede, but it was with out a doubt a rash decision by the centre back and you can guarantee that if VAR had been involved a penalty would've been the outcome.
There was also a case of a flailing arm on Gabriel Jesus in the box in the second half, but that instance was less clear. But what is clear is that no matter how brilliant a game Dejan Lovren is having, he is still prone to avoidable mistakes.
He can be immense and still clumsy, a fact that seemed to be lost on a lot of Liverpool fans, who praised the defender's tigerish performance against City's attack, without alluding to his recklessness:
Thought Lovren and Gini were boss. #LFC
— Graeme Kelly (@GraemeKelly1) October 7, 2018
It’s mad how there was a meltdown on here about Lovren starting and then he goes on to be our MOTM. It’s almost as if Klopp knows what he’s doing sometimes
— LFC Stanley House (@LFCStanleyHouse) October 7, 2018
If your blaming Lovren you can fuck off
— Ben 〽️ (@Riddock__) October 7, 2018
Thought lovren was class.
— The Anfield Truth (@AnfieldTruth) October 7, 2018
— EZGFX (@EZGFX1) October 7, 2018
I thought Lovren played amazing. Yet again, every bad thing I said about him last season I pretty seriously regret ? #LIVMCI
— Learning to be a Red (@learning_red) October 7, 2018
Whatever you think about Lovren and Hendo, they put in a top-class performance today. With Playmakers like Bernardo Silva and David Silva, Hendo was massive in not letting em create many chances. #LFC #LIVMCI
— Klopp (@Juergenloveit) October 7, 2018
Lovren my man of the match #LIVMCI
— Daps (@dapo_cloud9) October 7, 2018
Cast your mind back to last season and a similar incident in the Merseyside derby, Lovren conceded a last minute penalty after Dominic Calvert Lewin cynically drew a foul from him. It was touch and go, but again a rush of blood to the head spoiled what was another good performance.
Ironically it was Van Djik who nearly ended up costing Liverpool a point in the Anfield showdown on Sunday, but the Dutchman can be afforded some slack given Liverpool's miserly defensive record when he is in the starting eleven.
Pro-Lovrenites will point to the defender's Champions League final and World Cup final appearances as evidence of the player's quality, but the argument isn't that he doesn't have quality, he obviously does, it's just he tends to undo all his good work in a moment of panic.
His anxiety may well be assuaged by the presence of Van Djik and Alisson in goal, but with every mistake costly in the gruelling battle for the Premier League one can't help but think that Joe Gomez despite his inferior experience, is the better man to pair with Van Djik.