'Lovren will have a great season' - Kuyt backs Liverpool defender to shine

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The defender has not exactly convinced the Kop of his talents since joining, but one former Reds favourite believes this will be his year

Liverpool's fall guy Dejan Lovren is ready to shake off his critics and star this season in the team's defence, according to ex-Reds favourite Dirk Kuyt. 

Lovren's at-times erratic defending has made him a target of jibes over the years at Anfield, with many questioning his place in Jurgen Klopp's plans. 

After helping Liverpool to the Champions League final, however, Lovren also left a positive impression at the heart of Croatia's in the nation's run to the World Cup decider against France, with the player himself claiming he was the "world's best defender".

And despite his foibles, Kuyt is convinced that Liverpool fans will see the best of the centre-back this term. 

"Lovren is a great guy. I am big Liverpool fan, follower on social, and I saw Dejan joined the team," the former Netherlands international explained to reporters in Zagreb.

"He will have a great season and I believe Liverpool can fight Man City for the title this season.

"I enjoyed watching Croatia at the World Cup and how passionate they fought, not giving up for one second. They deserved a little more, but France are a terrific team and reaching the final is, in itself, amazing."

Kuyt was part of a Feyenoord team that ended an almost two-decade drought with the Eredivisie title in 2016-17. 

And he believes that it is time for Liverpool to end their own dry spell having spent heavily over the summer. 

"With Feyenoord I've won the title after 18 years, I believe Liverpool will make it after 29 years and Lovren will be a very important part of it. He and my friend [Virgil] Van Dijk make a great defensive wall."

The now-retired striker also commented on Croatia's two Real Madrid stars, tipping both for big things amid transfer rumours.

"I know how [Mateo] Kovacic feels, sometimes it is hard to be patient, everyone wants to play. I was such a player myself, always wanting to play, me and Mateo are similar for that," he said.

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"Real are one of the best clubs in the world but Chelsea are also a top club, with a new team preparing and a big opportunity for Kovacic to prove if he finishes there.

"[Luka] Modric has had a great season with Real and a great World Cup, he is no doubt the best midfielder in the world, but I am especially surprised by his character.

"After he missed a penalty against Denmark and than took the shot in shoot-out and scored - only the biggest players can do something like that, can have the guts to do that. I hope he wins the Ballon d'Or."