Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has been in superb form since Virgil van Dijk joined from Southampton in January.
Lovren, 28, was excellent in Croatia’s emphatic 3-0 World Cup victory over Argentina and Leo Messi on Thursday night.
He explained how Croatia thwarted “the greatest player in the world.”
“Of course we respect Messi because he’s the greatest player in the world, but he’s also stoppable,” Lovren said, as per the Guardian.
“But not [stoppable] against one player. We defended like a team and this is how we did it. Together. You saw it. He didn’t have many chances. It was brilliant defending.”
Lovren has spent four years on Merseyside but he hasn’t always been so popular with the Anfield faithful.
He’s made some horrendous errors in a Liverpool shirt but has looked far more composed next to Van Dijk.
RIISE’S TWEET TO LOVREN
On Friday afternoon, Liverpool legend John Arne Riise posted a tweet for “Mr Lovren” in which he apologised for the negativity he has shown towards him.
Riise tweeted: “Mr Lovren. I have been negative towards you during this season. I apologize! You have won me over. Played great.
Mr Lovren. I have been negative towards you during this season. I apologize! You have won me over. Played great. Had the best players in your pocket and proved to be very important to the success of our club! Good luck for the rest of World Cup mate 👌🏻🔝
— John Arne Riise (@JARiiseOfficial) June 22, 2018
“Had the best players in your pocket and proved to be very important to the success of our club! Good luck for the rest of World Cup mate.”
He’s spoken for every Liverpool fan with that tweet.
Riise spent seven years at Anfield and his opinion is still highly regarded among Liverpool supporters, especially on social media.
Lovren is full of confidence and believes the current squad can trump Croatia’s 1998 World Cup team that finished third.
“I said we can do it. Of course [be even] better,” Lovren said.
“And when you look on the team-sheet, we have better players than the previous [team] of 20 years ago.
“But it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t perform well. But if we are like against Argentina, through all the tournament, I believe we can go far.”
Croatia have already secured their spot in the last-16 but they must first face Iceland in their final group game.
With Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic pulling the strings in midfield, there’s no reason Croatia can’t go the distance this summer.