Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren will want to emulate his World Cup form when he returns for the Reds. Photo: Phil Noble/Reuters

Injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip mean Dejan Lovren will play a big part in today’s clash with United and he’s a changed player from last season’s disaster against Tottenham.

Lovren’s weakness was that he liked to fight too much and dived in against strikers when he didn’t have to. Harry Kane gave him such a runaround at Wembley, Lovren was hooked after 31 minutes with Liverpool already 2-0 down (they lost 4-1).

Since then, the Croatian has learned and had a fantastic run to the World Cup final. This afternoon, Lovren won’t always be able to nip in front of someone the size of Romelu Lukaku and win the ball. He’ll have to know when to drop off and he’s improved on that. It will also help to play alongside Virgil van Dijk, currently the best centre half in Europe. It’s a compliment to Jurgen Klopp’s squad that someone of Lovren’s quality is No 4 centre back.

Only Manchester City with Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi as back-ups can claim the same strength in depth at a time when Manchester United don’t have any centre halves they can rely on.

Van Dijk and Gomez are the best partnership, both are athletic and good on the ball. But Lovren has shown a strong mentality to bounce back from setbacks.

Daily Mail