I’M writing this the week after our new £75million colossus of a centre back scored a late winner on his debut, in the derby, in the FA Cup third round.
It doesn’t get much more Roy of the Rovers than that.
But, it’s another central defender who recently scored a late winner for Liverpool that I want to talk about.
When Klopp purchased him from Augsburg a few eyebrows were raised. In the current climate of FIFA, social media and Manchester City, if a player is relatively unknown and is being bought for less than £25m he must be shite seemingly. I, on the other hand, was quite relaxed.
I trust Klopp almost unreservedly and I was pretty confident that with his knowledge of the Bundesliga that it was a shrewd move. I don’t think anyone expected him to be first choice, least of all Klavan, and so that has proved. But the assumption that he was shit prevailed throughout his initial performances.
There was no doubt that he was involved in some poor defensive displays for Liverpool, but I think that the perception of him as crap was wildly overstated.
In 34 Premier League appearances for The Reds, we have only lost three times with Klavan involved. And won 21 of those. OK, we have only kept nine clean sheets in those games, but can you remember him ever actually making any horrendous mistakes? He certainly hasn’t experienced the same sort of highs and lows that Dejan Lovren has, I would argue that he has been relatively consistent and assured.
Klavan 17 pic.twitter.com/y6X1nbJfHn
— GivingItBifters (@scallyscouserL7) 6 January 2018
The performance that really sticks out for me, was last New Year’s Eve against Man City. I thought he was absolutely brilliant.
His recent run in the side has only supported my thoughts. This season he has made 14 appearances and we’ve only lost one of those games. His performances have been so good that the biggest compliment that can be paid to him is that the “LFC Twitter” has at least stopped calling him shite. Whether they will ever go as far to praise him, I doubt it.
I also think he is better on the ball than we think. I’ve witnessed him spread some nice 50-yard cross field balls to the flanks, and he plays it out from the back with a nice pace to the ball to get us on the move. Aerially he is strong and although not the quickest, you don’t see him caught out too often.
And of course, to top all of this off, he nodded in a winning goal in what was an absolute dog of a fixture away at Burnley on New Year’s Day. The fella is fast becoming one of my all-time cult heroes.
As ever, no doubt I have put the mockers on him now and he will have an absolute shocker soon but I’m more than happy with Klavan as one of our main centre backs and I would go as far to say I might have him ahead of Lovren now. He’s even giving me doubts about my love of Joel Matip.
I’m absolutely made up with the signing of Virgil van Dijk, it all feels perfect, especially after the derby. But I’m not concerned about Klavan’s role in this squad.
We’ve been one short for some time so I think all van Djik’s arrival will do is relegate the other three to all being second-choice centre backs and probably rotating around quite a bit. I honestly couldn’t call it for who will end up as the first-choice partner for the big Dutchman.
What I do know is that Klavan has done nothing to disgrace himself this season and should see himself as very much in the frame.
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Frankly not a bad shout. It’s all about partnerships so who knows if he is the one to gell with VVD. I’d have him in the queue ahead of Matip.
One slight worry though, you need a better cult hero if Klavan is near the top. Suggestions below….
Those numbers are ~80 points over 38 games. Some of the games werent epl though suppose.
I rate Klavan above Lovren and even Matip. I like the way he has frequently put his body and head in the line of fire. Totally underrated. Definitely a steal for £25m.
The reported transfer fee for Klavan was £4.2m. Reality over perception, yes please. But also value over cost would be good as well.
LOL.. I copy and pasted the £25m from the article but failed to make the correction to 4.2m.
He wasnt 25 mil he was 4 mil
Once, we bought an unknown CB from Finland. He was decent…
It’s a typical example of reality challenging perception. Klavan had been written off by most before he’d even kicked a ball for us purely due to the amount that was paid for him. It’s amazing how he has to work twice as hard to earn credit from most fans compared to the more popular players, much like Henderson has to also. Klopp, however, is more perceptive realising not every player in a squad has to be a showstopper, to gain balance in a team you also need players who provide stability. I’d argue the most stable defensive partnership this season has not proven to be the obvious choice of Lovren and Matip but that of Lovren and Klavan, much to the FIFA generation’s dismay.
Klavan is s solid defender and has more than repaid his fee. However let’s not get carried away as he has his limitations. He isn’t the quickest, his distribution can be wayward and he can lose his man on occasion. That said he’s much more consistent than Lovren and Matip. Maybe with a dominant and vocal VVD next to him he will become the best of the rest but we could do with two top centre backs.
Defo my first choice to partner Virgil. Calm head, scary sideburns. What’s not to like?
Well in Rags.
“…the presumption that he was shit, prevailed…”
This sentence just made me laugh for some juvenile reason. I think it’s the word ‘shit’ just seems so out of place in a considered article. :)
For what it’s worth I really like the Klavster, think he’s a half-decent defender with a pretty good, quick pass through the lines to his game. My first pick as a partner to Virge’ though would have to be Lovren. He’s frustrating because I think he’s a real high-end, talented CB in the Vidic mould, he just seems to have a concentration problem and occasionally plays with too much unbridled emotion. However, I’m really hoping that the calm assured ness of Van Dijk can improve his temperament (a great keeper would obviously help).
Does anyone think that Matip could be a midfield option? I think he played there for Schalke a few times. He’s good on the ball and often drifts quite naturally into midfield.
No chance. Not quick enough to play in the middle – both in terms of speed and also in his head.
Love the article though. Was only saying to my old man at the Swansea game that Klavan has become the type of player that you don’t seem to mention cos he just does his job and does it effectively. Defo my choice for partnering VVD.