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Jurgen Klopp believes Dejan Lovren was correct in his personal assessment that he has proved himself to be an elite defender in recent months, quotes ESPN.
Lovren will play in the final of the World Cup on Sunday, just a matter of weeks after he
was instrumental in Liver
pool’s run to the Champions League final.
On Wednesday, the centre-back claimed after Croatia booked their place in Sunday’s final with France that he is “one of the best defenders in the world,” with Klopp, his Liverpool manager, in full agreement.
Speaking after Liverpool’s goalless draw with Bury in a preseason friendly on Saturday, Klopp said: “It would be better if somebody else would say that and not Dejan, but actually he’s right.
“People don’t think about that, but if you go into detail it’s not a big surprise that [Croatia] are where they are.
“They don’t have world-class full-backs, but in the end they don’t concede.
They are offensive in the midfield with [Ivan] Rakitic, [Marcelo] Brozovic, [Luka] Modric, so somebody needs to fix all that. Dejan is a big part
of that.
“He was for us in the Champions League final, three years ago he was in the Europa League final, yes he didn’t win that. In the Champions League final, I didn’t see two better centre-halves than him — only more ruthless. That’s the thing.
“For me, it’s no surprise. He played a really good World Cup, but to do it consistently is more important.
We will work together for a long time, so I will have the opportunity to help him. Next time I will say it.”
Lovren will be granted an extended break after Sunday’s final against France and report back to Liverpool in close proximity to the start of the Premier League campaign on Aug. 12.
Meanwhile, Liverpool played their third warmup game of the summer — an uneventful 0-0 draw against League Two side Bury.
Daniel Sturridge, who is back at the club after his injury-plagued loan spell at West Bromwich Albion in the second half of last season, was one of a few players to impress at Gigg Lane during his 45-minute outing.
Klopp insists the 28-year-old has the chance this summer to prove he still has a future at Anfield, and stressed that no hurried decisions will be made regarding potential transfers for senior players.
“It’s funny, this is my third preseason and every year we talk about the same things,” Klopp said. “It’s no problem.
“I always said there is a future, it’s about what we do in the moment. At the moment it’s all good and we don’t have to make decisions. I don’t think about my players like this — like, maybe he’s in or out.
“With the young ones we make these decisions but not with
the other guys. They show up, and it should be easy for me in the end.