Liverpool head to FC Basel this evening looking to capitalise on a win in their opening Champions League game against Ludogorets.
It won’t be an easy game as Basel will want to react after being hammered by Real Madrid and there will be emphasis on the defence of each side to work hard throughout the game.
One of the defensive head-to-heads during the match will be Dejan Lovren going up against counterpart Fabian Schar.
The good news for Liverpool is that Lovren was more effective in a total of four key defensive areas on the first matchday.
He showed greater intelligence than Schar to make more interceptions and also greater strength to make more tackles and win more duels over the course of 90 minutes.
Schar was more effective on matchday one in terms of effective clearances, but that shouldn’t be a major surprise considering the huge amount of pressure Real Madrid placed Basel under during that game.
There have been suggestions that Mario Balotelli needs a goal or two to get his confidence going and he can definitely cash in during this game, if the Reds can get him the chances.
The trick for Lovren is to find the consistency to be one of the best defenders in the Premier League and Europe this season. The trick for Schar is to find a way to respond and keep the Liverpool attack quiet.
It should be a fascinating, but indirect, duel to watch this evening.