Jamie Carragher comments on Lovren's improved Liverpool form ahead of Southampton return

Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has backed current Reds centre back Dejan Lovren.

Liverpool are set to meet Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium this weekend, in a game which sees a number of Reds players return to the South Coast for the first time.

Brendan Rodgers snapped up three Saints players last summer, bringing Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert to Anfield as Southampton struggled to keep hold of their best players.

So far though, none of them have really got going at Liverpool. Lallana has shown flashes of his quality but has regularly been sidelined through injury, whilst Lambert has scored just twice in 18 appearances for his boyhood club.

Yet the most disappointing of the three signings has to be defender Lovren. The Croatian was the key player in Southampton's defence last season, but has struggled to make an impact at Liverpool, and is now even out of the side as Rodgers chooses to go with a back three of Emre Can, Martin Skrtel and Mamadou Sakho.

Fans have been heavily critical of Lovren since his arrival on Merseyside, but former Reds defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports that he still has faith in Lovren, and even believes that he has shown some improvement in his recent displays. 

"Lovren has not set the world alight," said Carragher. "He came in for a big fee, and he has not quite done yet what he was brought to the club to do. You look at someone like Sakho – he struggled last season and took time to settle in – and Lovren has actually looked better in recent weeks when coming off the bench late on in games against Crystal Palace and Besiktas.

"Lovren was good last season and he is not a bad player, he has just had a difficult time at Liverpool since he joined the club. There have been a lot of eyes on him, which brings its own pressure, as does the price tag, and hopefully we will see the best of him between now and the end of the season. And then going into next season, like we have seen with his defensive partner Sakho, we should start seeing the best of him," he added.

Lovren is unlikely to start the game against Southampton this weekend, but should be on the bench, meaning he'll be in line to play should Cna, Skrtel or Sakho suffer an injury.

Liverpool supporters and Rodgers will be hoping that Carragher is right, and that Lovren not only kicks on this season but can also former a solid partnership alongside Sakho - but that seems some way off right now.

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