'He was outstanding' - Jamie Carragher identifies Liverpool's star man in the victory over Man City
Jamie Carragher has saluted Liverpool's battling qualities in their Champions League quarter-final victory against Manchester City, as he suggested the oft-maligned Dejan Lovren has emerged as a star performer in Jurgen Klopp's team.
Virgil van Dijk has been hailed as the key component in an improved Liverpool defence since his arrival from Southampton in January, but Reds legend Carragher told the Liverpool Echo that Lovren has been just as significant in this season's Champions League run.
“Van Dijk has been getting a lot of plaudits and rightly so. Since he's come in there's been a big change defensively, but Lovren was brilliant (at City),” said Carragher. “It was one of his best games in a Liverpool shirt. I thought he was outstanding.
“There are still questions marks over him at certain times but Lovren and Van Dijk have shown they are Liverpool's best centre-back pairing.
“Van Dijk's presence has given confidence to players around him and Lovren has probably benefited more than anyone else.”
Carragher went on to suggest Klopp's class of 2018 could follow in the footsteps of his 2005 Liverpool team by going on to be crowned as European champions.
“There's no doubt that Liverpool can win it,” he added. “This team is better than the one I played in that won the Champions League in 2005. When I said that earlier this season, a few people laughed but this is a top Liverpool team with a top manager.
“Yes, Man City have been more consistent this season – the league table shows that – but Liverpool beat them 5-1 over two legs. They've got to take great confidence from knocking out Man City.
“I'd go for Roma (in the semi-final draw) because they haven't been this far for a long time. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have much more European experience.
“For Liverpool to have to beat either Real or Bayern in the semis and then probably the other one in the final would be tough.
“Roma played very well in the Nou Camp and they were unlucky to lose 4-1 before producing that amazing fightback in the second leg.
“They are no mugs but I think they could be affected by a big night at Anfield more than say Real or Bayern.
“I'd be looking for Roma but to be fair, I'm sure Roma are saying the same thing about Liverpool. They are the two new kids on the block in the last four.”