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Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp backs Dejan Lovren after Croatia's World Cup run

Jurgen Klopp has said Dejan Lovren deserves all the praise he is receiving after reaching the World Cup and Champions League final within a matter of months.

Lovren claimed he was one of the best defenders on the planet on Wednesday after Croatia's win over England in the semifinals of the World Cup.

He was also integral to Liverpool's run to the Champions League final in May, but although Klopp was full of praise for the 29-year-old he also said there is still room for improvement.

"People very often judge other people pretty early. I don't know exactly what happened before I came in," Klopp told Liverpool's website. "Since I came in, maybe Dejan made three or four mistakes, two of them in the Tottenham game, maybe one in a Champions League game last year. But it's for sure not 15 or 20.

"Ninety percent of the time he played outstanding, 95 percent absolutely OK, and five percent probably he was not at his best. But you will find these problems for pretty much all the players in the world.

"I'm completely happy. I'm happy that he used the little advice we gave him in the last few years in a very good way. He can still improve, 100 percent.

"But he is on a really good way. I didn't see all of the World Cup games but a lot -- he played a fantastic tournament so far. It's well deserved, I'm really happy for him."

Former Liverpool full-back and ESPN FC analyst Steve Nicol feels Lovren is too prone to avoidable errors to be considered one of the elite defenders in the game.

"Let's not kid ourselves, this guy deserves a pat on the back for having confidence in himself," he said. "But to come out and say that tells you he thinks he's mustard. Good on him.

"He's got as big a heart as anybody else. Unfortunately he's a train wreck at times, the guy makes mistakes from absolutely nowhere.

"One minute you think everything's in control and all of a sudden the ball's in the back of the net and he's right in the middle of it.

"I admire his ability to fancy himself, but he isn't one of the best defenders in the world. That's for certain."

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.


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