By Dominic King for MailOnline
Published: 13:43 GMT, 2 March 2020 | Updated: 13:53 GMT, 2 March 2020
Jurgen Klopp has launched an impassioned defence of Dejan Lovren after the Liverpool defender was pinpointed as the reason his team lost their 44-game unbeaten run.
Troy Deeney, who scored the final goal in Watford's 3-0 win at Vicarage Road, said afterwards that his side had targeted Lovren as 'the easier' option to attack; the remark was seized upon by the section of Liverpool fans who are highly critical of the Croatia international.
It was, however, nonsense to make Lovren the scapegoat. Virgil van Dijk had just as many problems during the game and Klopp also pointed out that Lovren has endured a season in which fitness issues have prevented him from playing a significant number of continuous games.
Dejan Lovren made his first appearance in the league since the beginning of December
With Joe Gomez nursing a tight hamstring, Lovren will be in contention to start against Chelsea on Tuesday in the FA Cup fifth round and, if he does, he will start knowing that his manager is fully behind him and supportive of how he plays.
‘It’s not fair, but that’s the world – if anybody gave Dejan Lovren the blame for our defeat then I can’t help these people,’ said Klopp, who has indicated his starting line-up at Stamford Bridge will be significantly stronger than it was for the third and fourth round games against Everton and Shrewsbury.
‘A lot of times in my life I