Jurgen Klopp insists Dejan Lovren is an ‘outstanding centre-half’ despite criticism of the defender’s performance during Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at Watford.
The Premier League leaders unbeaten start to the campaign came to an abrupt end at Vicarage Road, Ismaila Sarr scoring twice as the struggling Hornets produced one of the shocks of the season.
Croatian international Lovren returned to the Liverpool starting XI due to an injury to Joe Gomez, though the 30-year-old was given a torrid evening by Watford captain Troy Deeney and has since been heavily criticised for his role in an embarrassing defeat.
Klopp has now come to the defence of the under-fire centre-back following the performance, however, insisting Lovren was not to blame for the debacle and admitting his entire squad performed below the standards set so far this season.
“If anyone blames Dejan Lovren for our defeat, I can’t help these people,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference ahead of the midweek FA Cup game against Chelsea. “It was a massive challenge for Dejan to play against Troy Deeney. Joe Gomez has had similar problems.
“Both Dejan and Joe have played sensational games for us in this position. Fitness and rhythm is the most difficult to get in professional football. Dejan is an outstanding centre-half.
“If you can tell me one player from Saturday that played at his normal level, I would be surprised.”