Dejan Lovren may have played in the Premier League for just one season so far, but he has already earned the respect of Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge.
The 25-year-old was one of the best defenders in the English top flight in 2013-14 while on the books of Southampton despite suffering with injuries for a period.
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The Croatia international centre-back, who played for his country at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, joined Liverpool from the Saints last month for a reported transfer fee of £20 million.
The former Lyon star is expected to slot straight into manager Brendan Rodgers’s starting line-up, and judging from Sturridge’s public adulation of him, it will not come as a surprise to the England international.
The 24-year-old took to social networking site Twitter on Sunday to post the following message about his new teammate:
Everyone follow my new team mate @DejanLovrenLFC6 top player. One of the best defenders I've played against.— Daniel Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) August 3, 2014
Liverpool struggled defensively last season and conceded no fewer than 50 goals in the league, and Lovren has been recruited by Rodgers precisely to stop that from happening again.
This season the Reds will have to be especially aware at the back, as they do not have Luis Suarez any more.
The Uruguay international striker’s goals saved the Merseyside outfit from poor results on many occasions last campaign, but the 27-year-old’s departure to Barcelona earlier this summer has left a big hole in Liverpool’s attack which they may struggle to fill.