Dejan Lovren, Southampton’s Croatian centre-back who they purchased from Lyon twelve months ago, is the latest player to be strongly linked with a move to Liverpool.
As defensive stats are hard to make use of, as a lot of the important aspects of defending (e.g. positioning, anticipation, marking etc) aren’t measured (or at least, the data isn’t available in the public domain), I’ve looked at some stats in a slightly different way to try to get more useful information out of them.
Before we get to that though, let’s look at a few positives. In May, Bloomberg Sports unveiled their data driven list of the top fifty players in Europe’s top five leagues, and Dejan Lovren came in at number thirty-one, with only a handful of defenders ahead of him.
Whilst it’s not entirely clear how the scores were calculated, the Southampton centre-back must’ve been doing quite a lot right to get that high up the list. Based on data from the World Cup, Dejan Lovren is quick too.
Of the 235 players who featured for at least 270 minutes at Brazil 2014, the Croatian centre-back posted the joint-eighteenth top speed.
Before we draw too much from this, I don’t know how it was compiled. For instance, a player might stroll around the pitch for 99% of the time, but do one lightning fast sprint and so log an impressive ‘top speed’. But even if that was the case with Lovren, this does at least show that he is capable of zipping across the turf when required.
Considering Liverpool’s playing style, which can at times be somewhat reckless, the following stat could be a small, but significant, reason as to why Brendan Rodgers is looking to sign Lovren.