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Europa League provides best route back for Liverpool defender

| 18.02.2015

When Dejan Lovren signed for Liverpool after a stand-out season at Southampton, the Croatian international could hardly have envisaged a worse start to his playing career at Anfield.

Lacking anything like the defensive assuredness which earned him his £20m move last summer, a series of blunder-laden displays early in the season ensured Lovren became the poster boy for
Liverpool’s rapid deterioration from the heady heights of 2013/14.

To compound matters for the man carrying the burden of such a hefty price tag, Lovren’s eventual extraction from the team in mid December has coincided with Liverpool’s well-documented resurgence.

Lovren only started the first of the Reds’ current 16-match unbeaten run before being hauled off at Bournemouth during the break.

He’s also had to endure the added insult of watching Emre Can, a midfielder by trade, take his place in a three-man defence with aplomb.

However, all the while manager Brendan Rodgers has been careful to cite Lovren’s long-term importance to his team and after a few recent and largely successful 20-minute cameos; redemption could soon be at hand.

Liverpool play two legs of their Europa League tie with Besiktas either side of a vital trip to Saints in the Premier League and with injuries and suspensions creeping onto the scene Lovren seems sure to feature in Europe at least.

Both Steven Gerrard and Lucas are certain to miss the next fixture, where Liverpool are 3/5 shots to defeat Besiktas at Anfield, adding attraction to Can’s switch into a more natural midfield role.

If Lovren gets the nod then the 25-year-old must take the opportunity with both hands to regain Rodgers’ trust and that of fans who have been left underwhelmed.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.