Football: Break-ins made me lose my form for Liverpool, says Dejan Lovren

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren endured a difficult start to the season and although his low point on the pitch - the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham - occurred 10 days before the attempted burglary, he says the incident has had a profound effect.
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren endured a difficult start to the season and although his low point on the pitch - the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham - occurred 10 days before the attempted burglary, he says the incident has had a profound effect.PHOTO: REUTERS/ACTION IMAGES

(THE GUARDIAN) - Dejan Lovren has said an attempted break-in at his Liverpool home had a "horrific" impact on his family and affected his performances earlier in the season.

The Liverpool defender was targeted by thieves twice last year - while on holiday in Zagreb in June, when cash and jewellery were stolen from his apartment, and while attending the Champions League game against Maribor at Anfield on Nov 1 when three men attempted to smash their way into the family home.

A glass door at the property - Lovren's wife and children were inside - was shattered before the men were disturbed and fled.

The Croatia international endured a difficult start to the season and although his low point on the pitch - the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham - occurred 10 days before the attempted burglary, he says the incident has had a profound effect.

Lovren has struck up a good rapport with Virgil van Dijk since the £75 million (S$136.3 million) signing's arrival in January and believes the support of everyone at Liverpool helped with his recovery.

"People look at football, they don't look at what is going on around the life," the centre-half said.

"Some people can understand that, some people not, but in these difficult situations, I saw the support from some really good people like the manager, the club, my team-mates and, of course, the supporters, who are ready always to support you.

"It is not easy because we are also humans and everyone has problems. I don't know who hasn't had some. I am giving my best to have a quiet life but sometimes, it doesn't depend on myself because people just want to come into my home and steal some things, even though I have nothing in my home. Unfortunately my wife was in and two kids. It was horrific."

Lovren believes Jurgen Klopp's attacking philosophy also contributed to his defensive problems at Liverpool and it required mental resilience to move on from issues on and off the pitch.

He said: "I don't know one player who doesn't make a mistake, especially a defender and especially how we play at Liverpool. We play really high, offensive football and sometimes, you are one against one against top strikers and top strikers need just one chance from 10 and if they score, then they will blame you or someone else.

"I had many times when I made these wrong decisions, sometimes I can accept it and sometimes not because football is like that, but in the end, it depends on yourself and whether you are ready to move on or not. I think I responded quite well even with some different things around my life - burglars and things like that - so it wasn't easy for me, especially in October. It depends on the person."

Liverpool visit their fierce rivals Manchester United on Saturday (March 10) in the lunchtime kick-off with an opportunity to retake second place in the Premier League at the expense of Jose Mourinho's team, who are two points above them in the table.

Lovren expects a United side who have learned to "win ugly" under Mourinho to adopt the negative tactics that secured a goalless draw at Anfield in October.

Lovren said: "Maybe they are not in the best shape but still they win ugly. What matters is the points. It will be a tough challenge definitely.

"Last time, when they came here, they defended really deep so let's see what happens now. I think they will do that again. They need the points. For them, maybe a point is good but we never play for a point. We will play like we play every day, attacking football. Let's enjoy."