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Liverpool fans must lap up latest Dejan Lovren musing, not give him stick

FEATURED WRITER
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656   //    20 Dec 2018, 14:50 IST

Dejan Lovren has thrown the gauntlet to his Liverpool team-mates
Dejan Lovren has thrown the gauntlet to his Liverpool team-mates
“Hopefully we can be unbeaten until the end of the season,” the Croatia centre-back said.
“Of course it will be a challenge but this is what we want, this is why we came here to Liverpool, because we know we can do it.
“Arsenal did it before so why not?”

Dejan Lovren is at it again, as he throws gauntlets by the dozen. Liverpool fans are terrified. They know what this means.

Historically, a sweeping statement of confidence from Lovren hasn't been good news for the club in their next game, with the Croat invariably making a high-profile error.

But is he wrong? Or is the backlash because he is Dejan Lovren?

Imagine a Virgil van Dijk or an Andy Robertson saying that. How would that be lapped up by the Liverpool fans?

"My Dutch Leader", "Our Scottish Hero", etc? You'd tend to think so.

He's not wrong at all. Lovren is absolutely spot on in challenging his teammates to pull off something special together. Liverpool are one of the biggest names in English football, and when you're at a club like Liverpool, you want to push bars higher and higher.

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Also, what do you expect him to say? "Nah, we will lose a few games, and I hope we lose the title, also."?

Being realistic is one thing, setting big goals is another. Lovren is pushing the bar, and no sane football-lover would really want to question the pushing of bars.

Manchester City are incredible, they finished last season with 100 points in the Premier League. Liverpool are faced with that behemoth on their tails in this title race. They want to win the title.

And Lovren may be right. To win the title, Liverpool may well have to go through the whole season unbeaten in the Premier League.

This is not the first time in the last few months that Lovren has run his mouth. After Croatia beat Spain 3-2 in the UEFA Nations League, he dusted his ammunition up and took straight aim at Sergio Ramos.

In a live stream post, he is reported to have said: “Haha! 3-2! Go ahead and talk now buddy. Buddy! They [Spain] are a bunch of p******.”

View this post on Instagram

Dobro jutro Hrvatska 🇭🇷

A post shared by Dejan Lovren (@dejanlovren06) on

For one moment, let's try and look at things from Lovren's own perspective. Where has this immense belief in himself come from? Was he born with it? Probably not.

The late 80s and the early 90s were a tough time to grow up for a Balkan kid. In the Bosnian village of Kraljeva Sutjeska lay the beginnings for Lovren. He watched his uncle's brother get killed by a knife, saw his friend's father being killed in an armed attack.

A four-year-old Lovren was led by his family to flee the site of the worst crisis in the Balkans. A little Croatian kid now had a whole new environment to settle in, a whole new language to learn.

And he did. Then, the German dream was ended by authorities who decided it was time the Lovrens moved back to Croatia.

After seven years within the German system for Lovren, this was the defining point for his life. He returned to Croatia, and by his own admission, he was kind of an outcast.

“I spoke Croatian but not the proper Croatian, so when I came back, it was difficult. I didn’t understand, I didn’t know how to write, everyone was asking me, ‘why is your accent different to ours?’ and even today I have that German accent in my Croatian. The kids were just having fun, they didn’t mean to hurt my feelings on purpose, but for me after everything I went through it was a problem for me, and of course I had problems in the school because of that."

Football, he says, was his way of giving back to those that caused the problems, his way of showing people he was superior to them.

It was through Football that Lovren got one back on the bullies he faced. Put that round thing at his feet, and he could show those bullies that he was better than them.

For a man with that kind of start to life, you get Lovren's confidence, you really do. This is what he's good at, this enabled him to restart his life after years of tumult.

He calls himself one of the best defenders in the world, he says things that may be perceived as outrageous. In reality, those statements are made because Football is his internal defence mechanism.

It is the voice of the man who has had to struggle at every step of the way to be where he is today. That struggle has been as real as it has ever been since the summer of 2014 when he joined Liverpool.

Lovren dealt with unacceptable nonsense over the last year, in particular. That grim October evening at Wembley, that disaster against Tottenham Hotspur will forever be the lasting image of Lovren in a Liverpool shirt, but maybe for different reasons than initially thought.

Death threats, disgusting abuse, and other such unacceptable reactions marked that disaster against Tottenham, but Lovren has come back rather well since then.

Well, for starters, he's made a UEFA Champions League final and a FIFA World Cup final.

Can Liverpool finally break the 30-year-long wait their fans have had?
Can Liverpool finally break the 30-year-long wait their fans have had?

The weekend also marked redemption for Lovren. In March against Man United, he got bullied by Romelu Lukaku. This is a different Lukaku this season, a much tamer version, but Lovren got his measure of revenge on Sunday by not conceding an inch since then.

Lovren's life thus far has been simple - whether you hate him or love him, you really cannot ignore him.

The latest bout of confident talk from Lovren is anything but surprising. In reality, Liverpool fans really must lap this confidence up. It must be pleasant for fans to have their players confident enough to be talking about going a whole season unbeaten.

As for Dejan Lovren, his mouth may be his own worst enemy at times, but in the last year, it's only a good thing that he's allowed his football to do a little bit of the talking as well.

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FEATURED WRITER
Bengaluru-based Indian Football aficionado.
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