Birthdate: 5 July 1989
Birthplace: Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Other clubs: Dinamo Zagreb (2006-10), Inter Zapresic (loan, 2006-08), Lyon (2010-13), Southampton (2013-14)
Bought from: Southampton
Signed for LFC: £20m, 27.07.2014
International debut: 08.10.2009 vs Qatar
International caps: 31/2 (3/0 at LFC) - 23.03.2016
Liverpool debut: 17.08.2014
Last appearance: 31.01.2017
Debut goal: 28.10.2014
Last goal: 29.10.2016
Contract expiry: 30.06.2019
Win ratio: 49% W:49 D:23 L:28
Total games/goals opposite LFC: 2 / 1
LFC league games/goals: 70 / 2
Total LFC games/goals: 100 / 4
Player profileNot since 1991 when Liverpool swooped to prise both Mark Wright and Dean Saunders away from Derby County has the club targeted a single club for high-profile and repetitive transfer business, which is what happened to Southampton in the summer of 2014. But there some of the similarity ends. Derby had been relegated from the top division in bottom place in 1991 and it was inevitable that their big players would be looking for new clubs. Southampton had consolidated their place in the Premier League by ending the 2013/14 season in a very creditable eighth place. But within weeks they had seen both their talismanic scorer and their captain depart for Liverpool and they were soon followed by a key central defender. Southampton rejected Liverpool’s opening advances and were probably reluctant to let a third player go to the same club at any price. But most clubs know that keeping an unhappy player will only lead to further problems later, so eventually the two clubs’ negotiations reached a stage where both were happy and the Croatian became a Liverpool player towards the end of July 2014.
Dejan Lovren was born in the city of Zenica in Yugoslavia which, following the break-up of that country, became part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. His allegiance to Croatia comes from his parents. As civil war raged in Yugoslavia the Lovren family relocated to Munich so Dejan’s formal education began in Germany. The family headed back to Croatia after seven years in Germany and the youngster soon became a youth player in the town of Karlovac before moving on to Dinamo Zagreb in 2004 around the time of his 15th birthday. Within a couple of years he was making his senior league debut for Dinamo. The club from Croatia’s capital city then sent him on loan to NK Inter Zaprešić for two years and he did well there, making fifty league appearances, before returning to Zagreb. He was 19 years old when the next season began and he helped Dinamo to become the Croatian champions in 2008/09. He was also a member of the team that beat Hadjuk Split in the Croatian cup final that season.
Lovren made his senior debut for his country shortly after his 20th birthday and the following January moved to Olympique Lyonnais in France, signing a deal that was meant to last until the end of the 2013/14 season. The French top division, like its English counterpart, consists of thirty-eight league matches. But for one reason or another the defender only played in 56% of Lyon’s league fixtures during his three full seasons in France. Lyon finished 3rd, 4th and 3rd again but did win the Coupe de France in 2012, although Lovren had to be substituted at an early stage of their final victory over US Quevilly at the Stade de France in Paris. Despite having extended his Lyon contract by a further two years in 2012 Lovren signed a four-year deal with Southampton in June 2013.
Despite it being a year during which his club made good progress, there was no real indication that the player was unhappy until his teammates Lambert and Lallana had left St Mary’s for pastures new. Although Lovren was out of action for a few matches after being injured during Southampton’s 2-2 draw at Sunderland in January 2014, he still played in 31 of the 38 Premier League matches, scoring twice; that fixture at the Stadium of Light and the only goal of the game at Anfield in September, 2013 a header that ended Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season and lifted the Saints into 6th place in the table behind early pace-setters Chelsea and Liverpool themselves.
Brendan Rodgers said that Liverpool had lacked leadership in defence since Jamie Carragher retired in 2013. Carra himself was delighted by Lovren's capture and said on Twitter that he and his Sky Sports' colleague, Gary Neville, both had Lovren in their Premier League team of 2013 and he thought Lovren was "excellent for Southampton." Mark Wright, former Southampton stalwart and formerly Britain's costliest defender when Liverpool purchased him from Derby, mentioned in the beginning of this article, commented on talkSPORT: "Dejan Lovren looks a decent enough player and if there is one position Liverpool needed to address [it's centre-back]. They concede too many goals from set-pieces last season and they conceded a lot of silly goals, if they hadn’t the title might have been theirs and probably should have been theirs. And they’re addressing that by getting this lad in. “Is he the answer? Time will tell but one thing I do know is that Brendan Rodgers is very thorough. The most important thing is shutting the backdoor and they’ve gone for this lad, but for one good season £20million seems a heck of a lot of money.”
Possibly because he arrived with a big reputation as well as a big price-tag the Croatian defender took time to settle down at his new club. But he still played in nearly 70% of Liverpool's Premier League matches in 2014/15 and added a further 12 appearances in the cup competitions. Although mainly bought to shore up a somewhat porous defence from the previous season he could still be a threat in the opposition's penalty-area; and he proved that by heading a last-minute winning goal in front of the Kop when Swansea City came to Anfield for a fourth round League Cup match at the end of October. At times he seemed in awe of his surroundings and made a number of costly errors, leading to him having to settle for a place on the bench on six occasions in the second half of the season. 2015-16 was much better for Lovren. Although it didn't start well and he made some atrocious mistakes in defeats to West Ham and Manchester United, the arrival of Jurgen Klopp helped him to transform his game and cut out the silly errors. A simple switch to the right of the back two worked wonders and he was much more confident with Nathaniel Clyne next to him than Alberto Moreno. He formed a solid partnership with Sakho and also got a goal that will go down in Anfield folklore when he netted the injury time winner in a pulsating Europa League quarter final against Borussia Dortmund.
Appearances per season
A more detailed look at the player's appearances
|5||West Ham United|
Goals per season
A more detailed look at the player's goalscoring
|1||90||28.10.2014||Swansea City||Anfield||League Cup|
|Club||Season||Club rank||League apps||League goals||Total apps||Total goals|
|Dynamo Zagreb||2005-2006||Croatia 1||1||0||1||0|
|Inter Zaprešić||2006-2007||Croatia 2||21||0||25||0|
|Inter Zaprešić||2007-2008||Croatia 1||29||1||31||1|
|Dynamo Zagreb||2008-2009||Croatia 1||22||1||38||3|
|Dynamo Zagreb||2009-2010||Croatia 1||14||0||29||1|
|Southampton||2013-2014||England Premier League||31||2||31||2|