Liverpool supporters have been pretty downbeat in the Transfer Tavern for much of this week after seeing their team slip to just a fourth Premier League defeat of the season last time out, going down 2-1 to Manchester United.
Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their clash with the Red Devils just two points behind them in the table, and having won each of their previous three league games. Yet a first half double from Marcus Rashford did the damage at Old Trafford last weekend, and although the Reds got one back in the second period through Eric Bailly’s own goal, the Merseyside giants weren’t able to get the crucial second to prevent a fourth league loss of the campaign, and thus their slip to fourth place in the Premier League table.
Consequently, there have been many despondent Liverpudlians in the Tavern this week, yet several are eagerly anticipating their side’s clash with Watford at Anfield on Saturday, knowing that victory for their team would take them back above Tottenham into third place in the division.
And many of those Reds fans lining up at the bar have been discussing what changes Klopp should make to his team, and there is one man several of them do not want to see in the starting eleven on Saturday, namely Dejan Lovren.
Ultimately, the former Southampton centre-back remains a clear liability in the Reds backline, and endured a miserable afternoon at Old Trafford last weekend trying to get the better of Romelu Lukaku, which he quite simply wasn’t able to do in the 90 minutes.
The Belgian international won the flick-on at the expense of Lovren which set Rashford on his way to bag the opener at Old Trafford, before the United forward easily shrugged off the defender in the build up to Rashford’s second just ten minutes later – it was a disaster.
Add in another occasion in which Lukaku easily beat the 28-year-old in the air, and it was a complete horrorshow from the Croatia international – one that played a key part in their fourth loss of the campaign.
One bad game can sometimes be excused, but this is not the first time that Lovren has cost Liverpool points in recent times, with one of his errors coming in their 2-2 draw with Spurs earlier this year. And that is why he simply has to be axed against Watford on Saturday.
And while Joel Matip and Joe Gomez haven’t always convinced when at the heart of the Reds backline, they surely deserve an opportunity to prove their worth to Klopp – if Matip in particular can’t get in the side after Lovren’s shocker last week, then questions have to be asked about his long-term future at the club.
Ultimately though, Liverpool cannot afford, at this stage of the season, to continue persevering with Lovren given the amount of individual errors he has made in big matches in recent times, and while one wouldn’t put a home game against Watford in that bracket of matches, Klopp has to make a statement of intent to Lovren, and indeed the other defenders, that changes will be made when necessary.
As such, the Liverpool chief simply has to axe the under-performing star against Javi Gracia’s Hornets on Saturday.
Liverpool fans… what do you think? Let us know!