Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren put in a Man of the Match performance in the fantastic 2-1 win at Turf Moor, where the towering centre-half guided his side to a win on the same day his position came under huge pressure with the arrival of fellow central defender Virgil van Dijk.
Lovren was at the centre of the action on a miserable afternoon at Burnley at both ends of the pitch as the rain continued to pour down, yet importantly carried out all that was asked of him efficiently as his centre-back partner Ragnar Klavan grabbed a last-minute winner. Eyes would undoubtedly be on Liverpool’s defensive duo after the announcement of van Dijk, but also due to the fact that forwards Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah were ruled out through injury, thus heaving the pressure on an important defensive display.
The Croatian was forced to deal with everything thrown at him by a fired-up Burnley side, who have proven to be this season’s surprise package as they currently occupy seventh position in the league table. Lovren’s 84 touches in total was a match-best, while he constantly denied the home side with header after header, also chipping in with important challenges in the testing conditions. His key moment in the game, however, arrived with essentially one of the last touches of the game, where he timed his flicked header to perfection, allowing fellow centre-back Klavan to head home from close range to grab all three points for the Reds.
There was inevitably immense pressure on the shoulders of the Croatian, aware of his previous mistakes throughout the campaign yet also aware of the fact another defender would soon be lining up for his club. However, Lovren was calm and composed at the back, dealing with the physical presence of Ashley Barnes effectively.
The fantastic result at a difficult venue means the Reds have now gone 16 games unbeaten in all competitions (W11 D5), their longest run under Jurgen Klopp, which is also the German’s longest run of matches without a defeat in the Premier League (13 games). Lovren himself may not know of his role in Liverpool’s next outing – a Merseyside derby with Everton on Friday evening in the FA Cup – but he may again have an important role to play, especially considering the squad rotation that Klopp will undoubtedly rely on as his side host league leaders Manchester City on Sunday 14th January in another highly anticipated fixture.