By Chris Rowland.
Liverpool have completed the signing of 25-year-old Southampton centre-back Dejan Lovren for a fee reported to be in the region of £20m.
The Bosnian-born Croatian international played in all three of Croatia’s games at the recent World Cup, and previously played for GNK Dinamo Zagreb and Olympique Lyonnais, where he won the Coupe de France, before signing for Southampton in 2013 for an estimated fee of £8.5 million.
Liverpool had previously showed an interest in signing the player. His first goal for Southampton, and the only goal of the game, came against Liverpool at Anfield on 21 September 2013. His former Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino said: “He is quality as a player, has a presence on the field and he’s good at solving difficult situations.”
Brendan Rodgers put it like this:
“I think he’s a really commanding centre-half,” he explained. “I’ve said since we lost Jamie Carragher that we needed that leadership. He’s a player that gives us that.
“He’s very strong, very commanding, but he can play. I’ve been really impressed with him.
“I watched him at Lyon, he came into the Premier League with Southampton and I know their players thought he was a big driving force for them and kept them defensively solid.
“He had a really good World Cup. I think he’s a player that can still improve, still develop as he’s in his mid-20s. He’s someone I’m really looking forward to working with.”
Rodgers says Dejan Lovren will help the Reds eradicate the individual mistakes which cost them goals last season.
“Dejan is very commanding and has great leadership qualities,” Rodgers says. “He’s a front-foot defender, he’s not a waiter. He’s aggressive, he goes and attacks the ball.
“We conceded a lot of poor goals due to bad individual mistakes last season. That is something that Dejan’s leadership can certainly help us with.”
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