As the dust finally settles from Liverpool’s incredible 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, a couple of players came out from the battle relatively unscathed. Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip were two rocks at the back for the Reds and ensured the Blues barely had any attacking outlet during the game.
Sure Chelsea did score via a mistake from Matip but barring that, the Blues barely troubled Simon Mignolet in goal. Dejan Lovren also scored the opening goal of the game and the Croatian is finally living up to his £20 million price tag.
The duo might not have been the number one pairing for the side at the start of the season as Mamadou Sakho and Lovren were expected to be starting most games but the Frenchman is out of contention for the side due to fitness concerns.
The pairing of Matip and Lovren controlled the Chelsea team so exceptionally well that they did not have to deal with a lot of threats, even though they had to face a fit and fighting Diego Costa. Liverpool fans might be cheering the pair but they do seem to be on track to remind fans of another great pairing, Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel.
On the way to greatness
Agger and Skrtel, when they were fit, were one of the best partnerships in English football. Though they were not able to play a large number of games together, they always ensured that Liverpool had quality in defence.
Agger’s injury record cut short his Liverpool career but the Dane was one of the classiest footballers in the side and was comfortable on the ball. Although Matip is extremely strong and physical, the defender can also dribble the ball as well.
Matip has consistently shown that he can play neat one-twos and often ends up around the opposition’s penalty box. Lovren, on the other hand, is the defender who takes it up a notch and defends right from the get go.
His tackling has improved remarkably this season and certainly does not seem that naïve defender he used to be when he signed for Liverpool a couple of seasons ago. Jurgen Klopp certainly has worked on the pair and with both of them relatively injury free, they can be a stable and great partnership for years.
Matip and Lovren seem to be forming a great partnership and it is only going to get better. The former Schalke defender spoke after the EFL cup win over Burton a few weeks ago.
“I enjoyed playing alongside Dejan,” the Cameroon international told the Liverpool Echo. “He’s a very good player. I hope we can have a good partnership together.
“I think there’s a good understanding there already. At times he covered me, at other times I covered him. We played together at the start of the preseason, so I think it will be good.”
In fact, both players are in form and this could be a great season for Liverpool. Matip could even turn out to be the signing of the season as he was brought to Merseyside on a free transfer. And Lovren for £20 million does seem to be a bit of a bargain now, seeing as to how much is being spent in the transfer window.
The Reds haven’t kept a clean sheet all season in the league and that might be a worry. But Klopp is working hard on his team and it is only a matter of time before Lovren and Matip shut out other teams.