If you want an image of the eternal purgatory of Liverpool, then read on. Following a reasonable run of form, Dejan Lovren today had another chastening afternoon, utterly bullied by Romelu Lukaku at Old Trafford.
The prelude to both of United's first-half goals featured Lukaku shunting Lovren out of the way on a De Gea goal kick, for which the Croatian defender was criticised by both Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher on Sky's commentary. He was also mindlessly playing Juan Mata onside later in the half, with the Spaniard inexplicably missing a sitter.
That Lovren has had a bit of a meltdown today will be of no surprise to the strain of Liverpool fans who include reading player interviews in their pre-match routine. Yesterday, he spoke to the press about the horrific ordeal of having his house burgled, and the subsequent effect it had on his form. Lovren, however, then proclaimed his return to form.
We play really high, offensive football and sometimes you are one against one against top strikers and top strikers need just one chance from 10 and if they score then they will blame you or someone else.
I had many times when I made these wrong decisions, sometimes I can accept it and sometimes not because football is like that, but in the end it depends on yourself and whether you are ready to move on or not. I think I responded quite well even with some different things around my life – burglars and things like that – so it wasn’t easy for me, especially in October. It depends on the person.
Lovren has an odd habit of giving interviews heralding his return to form prior to games in which said form then deserts him.
A few previous examples.
Lovren claimed in a Sky interview before a game away to Crystal Palace in November 2014 that he was good enough to be Liverpool captain some day.
Liverpool lost 3-1 to Neil Warnock's Palace as the Croat was ripped to shreds by Yannick Bolaise.
Ten months later, Brendan Rodgers publicly backed Lovren following clean sheets against Stoke, Bournemouth and Arsenal.
I thought he (Lovren) was very, very good last week. I think it’s confidence. I felt – and I said it last year – in his second year he’ll be a better player here.
It’s such a huge move to come to a club like this and it’s only when they’re in they recognise the expectations that are here.
It was about trying to find that balance early on in pre-season. We’ve got excellent players here in Sakho, Kolo, but centre-halves will tell you it’s about finding that comfort with a partner, that partnership.
And I thought the two centre-halves were very good last week and Dejan in particular where he’s aggressive, good in the air, his reading of the game was good and his passing was simple but effective.
Then, this happened against West Ham.
And following yesterday's comments, Liverpool fans flagged the trend again today.
Dejan Lovren getting beaten in an aerial duel for an opening goal the day after giving another "I'M BACK BABY" interview is groundhog day
— nate (@natefc) March 10, 2018
The Lovren ™:
- Give interview before a massive game.
- Have an absolute mare in said massive game.
- Play well for 3/4 weeks and gain everyone’s trust.
— The Anfield Talk (@TheAnfieldTalk) March 10, 2018
Another Lovren interview
Another Lovren disasterclass
— ' (@lfcethxn) March 10, 2018