DEJAN Lovren committed an error I would not have accepted from my little grandson in a park game.
He cost his team a win in Sunday’s Merseyside derby - and it confirmed once and for all that he is not cut out to be Liverpool’s first choice centre-back.
You can argue all you want about Craig Pawson’s decision to give a penalty for Lovrens’s clash with Dominic Calvert-Lewin and we all saw that manager Jurgen Klopp was furious after the game.
It was one of those decisions that could have gone either way, but Pawson would never have given it if Lovren understood how to defend that situation.
Get your hands in the air, make it clear that you are not pushing the player and direct him towards the far corner of the box and away from goal.
Instead, Lovren gave Pawson a decision to make and even if Calvert-Lewin played for the penalty, you’ll see those given in the modern game.
This should have been basic defending and yet time and again, Lovren comes up short and there comes a point where you have to say enough is enough.
Klopp did his best to stick up for his player in a post-match interview that saw him lose his cool, but let’s not make too much of a fuss out of that incident.
Managers get some ridiculous questions thrown at them a few minutes after a game and when you have had the kind of disappointment Liverpool had on Sunday, it is natural that you can’t be arsed answering them.
Klopp made his point, lost his composure for a minute and then said sorry. That should be the end of it as there are much bigger issues Liverpool fans need to be worried about right now.
I admire Klopp’s eagerness to defend his players at all costs, as that is what all the best managers have done down the years. He needs to find a solution to the Lovren problem very quickly and this latest error cemented that belief.
This guy is an accident waiting to happen and on an afternoon when he literally had one serious piece of defending to do against an Everton side that appeared to be keen to settle for 1-0 defeat. He handed out an early Christmas gift that cost Liverpool two points.
I have never seen an Everton team show such a lack of ambition coming to Anfield, with Sam Allardyce not even making moves to try and get back into the game after Mohamed Salah’s magnificent opening goal.
Allardyce was his familiar arrogant self after the game, claiming his brilliant tactics had got Everton a point, but no one believed him.
Everton set out not to get heavily beaten and I reckon Allardyce would have been delighted to get out of Anfield with a one-goal defeat, with his ‘small club’ mentality shining through again. He could claim to be a tactical master after Lovren’s moment of madness.
The trouble for Klopp is that he’s lacking in options to replace a clear weak spot in his set-up. I believe Joe Gomez should get a run at the heart of the Liverpool defence now and Klopp has to push the club to spend lots of money to sign Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk in January.
You may not solve Liverpool’s defensive problems with one or two big signings, but the individual errors Lovren continues to throw up means it will be very difficult for Klopp’s team to challenge for anything while he is a key part of the team.
Yesterday’s Champions League draw against Porto gives Liverpool a real chance to push for a place in the quarter-finals of that competition, but the current defence cannot be relied upon to keep a clean sheet against Europe’s top sides and Klopp finally needs to find solutions to this enduring problem.
West Bromwich Albion will come to Anfield tomorrow night with a plan akin to Everton’s and they will be hoping for a few lapses in the Liverpool defence to get the result they so badly need at the bottom of the table.
While I expect Klopp’s side to beat West Brom and Bournemouth in these next two games, nothing is certain so long as Lovren is taking on so much responsibility at the heart of the Liverpool defence.