Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has cemented his spot in the side this season after the injury picked up by Joel Matip against Manchester United.
Despite the Croatian impressing in the heart of the defence against Virgil van Dijk, Reds’ fans have slammed the experienced enforcer on a weekly basis, even in the 2-1 win against Brighton last time out.
Lovren’s impressive form has seen Joe Gomez struggle for playing time in Merseyside, and that looks set to continue over the Christmas period.
Jurgen Klopp delivered an update on the fitness of Matip, who was assessed on Friday ahead of the game against Brighton on Saturday afternoon at Anfield.
“Joel needs a bit more time,” he said via the Liverpool Echo.
“It is healing but not exactly how we wished for so he needs a bit more time and that will take a while. The others are fit and available.”
Lovren is certainly guaranteed to start the Merseyside derby against Everton on Wednesday evening, as he closes in on last season’s tally of 11 starts in the Premier League.
The 30-year-old wouldn’t have expected much playing time this season under Klopp after a summer full of interest from European sides.
During his six starts in this campaign, Lovren has completed 1.3 tackles per game according to WhoScored – more than van Dijk has averaged alongside him.
The trouble will come when Matip is back fully fit, given that he has averaged the most tackles and interceptions between all three of the defensive options pushing to cement spots under Klopp.
Lovren is surely guaranteed to start against Everton, especially after Klopp confirmed that Matip will be out of action for a little while longer with the injury.