Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson has been left stumped by Jurgen Klopp’s preference for Dejan Lovren over Joe Gomez in Liverpool’s starting line-up on several occasions recently.
While the English defender was picked to start against Arsenal in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, the Croatian has started two of the Reds’ last three Premier League games, as well as the most recent Champions League match against Genk.
The 40-year-old told Football Insider: “I was pleased to see [Gomez] get minutes but I was very disappointed to see Lovren had been selected ahead of him in recent weeks.
“As a centre-half, those games are difficult because the teams are mixed up so much, you’re playing in defensive partnerships and on the pitch with players that you might not regularly play with.
“He was guilty of ball-watching at times but I think he needs more minutes and I would start him ahead of Lovren every week.”
On closer inspection of the Liverpool defenders’ respective statistics from the season so far, Robinson may have been overly dismissive of the 30-year-old Croatian.
Nobody in Klopp’s squad has won more aerial duels per game in the current Premier League campaign than Lovren’s five, with Gomez averaging just two per match. [via WhoScored]
Lovren has also had a higher passing accuracy rate than his younger defensive colleague (92% to 83.7%), as well as winning more tackles per game (1.5 to 0.7) and making more interceptions per match (2 to 0.3). [via WhoScored]
The ex-Southampton man has come in for criticism from some Liverpool fans for his displays against Genk and Tottenham recently, although Gomez did not look very assured when called into the team for the midweek game against Arsenal.
Henry Jackson of This Is Anfield said that the 22-year-old looked ‘off the pace’ and has had a rapid downturn of form compared to a year ago, while ESPN writer James Capps held him culpable for the Gunners’ first goal, saying that he would ‘be disappointed he couldn’t stop Gabriel Martinelli in the initial build-up to Arsenal’s equaliser’.
Liverpool have conceded three goals in the four matches that Lovren has played this season, two fewer than they let in with Gomez at centre-back against Arsenal alone, with the Reds conceding thrice against Red Bull Salzburg on his previous start in the centre of defence.
While Lovren might not convince some, he has looked a better option at centre-back than Gomez in recent weeks, even if Robinson clearly believes the opposite.
Liverpool fans, do you agree with Robinson’s view that Gomez should be starting regularly or is Lovren better than him at centre-back? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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