Liverpool only at 85 per-cent of potential defensively, declares centre-back Dejan Lovren

Liverpool only at 85 per-cent of potential defensively, declares centre-back Dejan Lovren

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren believes the team haven't yet met their potential defensively and that they can still improve, despite keeping clean sheets in their last three matches in all competitions.

Charlie Malam

Dejan Lovren has vowed that Liverpool's defence are only at 85 per-cent of their potential and insists they can still improve despite keeping three successive clean sheets.

Jürgen Klopp's side have kept as many shut-outs in their last three games as they had in their previous 14, with a goalless draw at Southampton followed by 2-0 Anfield victories over Sunderland in the Premier League and Leeds United in the EFL Cup.

Improved defensive displays have helped to quell suggestions that Liverpool are weak at the back, with Lovren and Joel Matip forming an excellent partnership. 

But neither of the pair featured in the win over Leeds, in which the Reds progressed to the semi-finals to set up a two-legged tie with Southampton next month, with Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan instead taking their places in the centre of defence.

And despite preventing their Championship opponents from scoring, Lovren is confident that Liverpool can still perform better at the back to cut down the number of chances they allow teams.

'Everyone is doing well, but we can be better'

The Croatian remained an unused substitute for the win over Leeds but told that the clean sheet is "great" for the confidence of "everyone" including "the goalkeeper" and "the defence."

He said that "both" Klavan and Lucas "had a great game" and hailed left-back Alberto Moreno and right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, insisting that they "had a good game" considering that "these four are not playing together day-by-day."

Lovren insisted that it is "important to have a clean sheet" but said it's "really tough" in the Premier League and he will "always prefer the three points."

On how much further they can improve, he added: "I think we're on 85 per-cent. We're in good shape. Everyone is doing well, but I think we can be better."

He hoped that "as the season goes on further" Liverpool can "still be in the top four and maybe even in first place" and said that the team "just need to work hard and keep our heads down."

He warned that they cannot afford "to think about big things" and must instead "go game-by-game", which he said will be "the best thing" for them.

Lovren added that he and Matip have made a quick connection since the Cameroon international joined from Schalke in the summer, insisting that it is "always easier when you have the feeling with your partner and know each other."

He said that he and his fellow centre-back have "done it quite well" and said that "even in pre-season" their connection was "really quick", suggesting it is because they can both speak German. 

But he said that it's "not just Joel" and that "it's everyone doing well" to have inspired them to second-place after 13 games.

Liverpool can 'count on everyone' in the squad

Lovren even admitted that he was impressed with the performances of the fringe and younger players who took to the field in the win over Leeds, with Klopp making eight changes to his starting XI.

The No.6 said that it is "always good" to come into the training ground the next day after they have "won a game or got three points" and declared "especially" now they are in the semi-finals of the competition and "one step closer to the final."

"I think everyone was doing a great job, especially the young talented boys who got the chance to prove themselves," Lovren said, calling it "a deserved win" over "quite a tough opponent."

He praised Leeds for playing "really good defensively" but said that Liverpool "had the quality to break them" and "achieved that."

Lovren said that the Reds have 25 players in their first-team squad and said that it is "really positive" for them to be able to "count on everyone" with "the young lads" included.

He added that it is "important" to have "five, six, seven players who are more experienced" and can help "the young blood" to "find a rhythm", praising everyone for "doing really well."