Dejan Lovren believes Jürgen Klopp has assembled a Liverpool squad capable of winning the Premier League title and insists that they have learned their lesson from previous campaigns.
Despite reaching the finals of the Champions League, Europa League and League Cup since Klopp was appointed manager in 2015, Liverpool have yet to win any silverware under the German but lead the Premier League table by six points at the halfway stage. Lovren, who moved to Anfield from Southampton in 2014, is one of several players Klopp inherited when he succeeded Brendan Rodgers and the Croatia defender admitted it has taken time for the former Borussia Dortmund manager’s methods to bear fruit.
“I think experience,” the 29-year-old said when asked what this Liverpool team possess that previous sides did not. “There are quite a lot of players still here and it was like a puzzle, you just keep bringing these players you missed and now I think it’s a perfect match. You feel that in the squad, it’s how it should be. There has always been something missing all these years but I think now we have everything.”
He added: “It’s more only about us and that’s how we should do it always. We have learned from all these previous seasons.”
Having missed the first few weeks of this season as he recovered from his exertions for his country at the World Cup, Lovren has started the last three matches alongside the outstanding Virgil van Dijk in central defence and helped Liverpool concede only seven goals so far in the league. That puts them on course to beat Chelsea’s record of 15 set in 2004-5 under José Mourinho – quite a turnaround for a side that had conceded 23 at this stage last season.
Yet Lovren, who is expected to face Arsenal at Anfield on Saturday, said it is more about the team as a whole than any individuals.
“The foundation [isn’t] about five players behind,” he said. “It’s about Mo [Salah], Bobby [Firmino], Sadio [Mané], everyone up front, they are the first defenders. We know when we don’t concede a goal, we score. That’s the key for us and we need to always stay hungry. When we lose the ball, get it back quickly.”
Salah is also set to feature against Unai Emery’s side after the Football Association decided not to pursue a charge against the Egypt forward for the incident that lead to Liverpool’s penalty in the 4-0 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day.
It is understood that the FA ruled Paul Dummett made contact with Salah before he went to ground, meaning that the incident did not meet the threshold for a diving charge and he is free to face Arsenal.