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Liverpool Overpaid for Dejan Lovren, but He's Mamadou Sakho's Ideal Partner

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - APRIL 19:  (L-R) Dejan Lovren of Southampton is challenged by Gabriel Agbonlahor of Aston Villa during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park on April 19, 2014 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJuly 28, 2014

Liverpool have confirmed, via their official website, the signing of Dejan Lovren from Southampton for a supposed £20 million fee.

The Croatian becomes the third Saints player to swap the south coast for Merseyside this summer, following the example set by Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert.

Centre-back was hardly a glaring need on paper when you glance at the Reds' squad—Rodgers does have Mamadou Sakho, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Tiago Ilori and Kolo Toure already on the books—but they saw him as a must-have signing on the back of a glorious season, and his personal turnaround is quite the remarkable recount.

Just over 12 months ago, Lovren was sat on the bench at Olympique Lyonnais, kicking his heels as his side suffered on the pitch. He spent most of the final six weeks of the 2012-13 season marginalised and made a brave move to Southampton in an attempt to reignite his career.

Left-centre-back, Lovren's favoured position, was taken over by the stellar Samuel Umtiti, paving the way for an £8 million transfer and a switch to the Premier League.

Literally from the first whistle, the Dinamo Zagreb youth product impressed: He marshalled his side to a 1-0 away victory against West Bromwich Albion on the opening day and strung together a seriously impressive set of performances until an ankle ligament injury curtailed his season somewhat.

Rodgers has been searching for Sakho's partner and has not been convinced by Agger or Skrtel.
Rodgers has been searching for Sakho's partner and has not been convinced by Agger or Skrtel.Jeff Gross/Getty Images

"He is a commanding and powerful presence and clearly has leadership skills, which is important; he fits the profile of player we are looking for," Rodgers told LiverpoolFC.com upon his arrival.

For the large part this is true; his return to the team, albeit in a 3-0 loss to Liverpool at St. Mary's Stadium in March, showed us the positional discipline and excellence that makes him such a valuable asset. On the day the Reds, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling (as an impact substitute) were irresistible.

The Croatian is accustomed to playing possession football and setting a high(ish) defensive line, and while that's a problem for Croatia considering Vedran Corluka plays much deeper, it should suit the Reds OK depending on who he's partnered with.

He's played on the left of the central defensive duo for many years, but as a right-footer, Rodgers will hope he can switch to the other side with consummate ease.

The prospect of a Sakho-Lovren partnership—worth around £36 million in transfer fees—is the ideal stopper-sweeper combination. Sakho steps out and aggressively deals with centre-forwards, while Lovren is left to a more refined role.

He's a strong tracker, quick across the ground, two-footed and a very dependable option. His first season at Southampton was one of the best the south coast club has seen in decades, and while £20 million is perhaps a little steep, he's worth at least £15 million with ease. 

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