Gary Neville says that Dejan Lovren is a top central defender on his day and that his passion while playing for Croatia is to be praised.

The 29-year-old was absolutely immense for Liverpool on their way to the UEFA Champions League final last season but has been usurped as Virgil van Dijk’s centre back partner by a man eight years his junior.

Joe Gomez has emerged as a key performer this season after a 2017/18 season that was largely hit and miss. Being forced to play at right back helped the Englishman’s positional awareness while his aerial presence still needs improvement.

As a result of Gomez performing at a very high level, Lovren has played just 270 minutes in the Premier League this season in comparison to Gomez’s 935.

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Speaking about the defender on Sky Sports, Gary Neville said: “He was a little bit gobby in the World Cup, wasn’t he?

I have to say that for me with Lovren, when he was at Southampton I absolutely loved him. And when Liverpool signed him it didn’t surprise me at all.

“I think it took him time to settle in. I think now he actually seems to be getting better again. He’s passionate about playing for his country. I did think that he and [Domagoj] Vida at the World Cup would struggle, I thought he would give them more problems.

“But they did quite well in the game in the end. He’s confident in himself, he’s got a lot of belief. To be fair, when he’s at his best he’s a top centre half.”

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