COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Ragnar Klavan has proved his early doubters wrong with recent performances and it’s time he was recognised as a valuable member of the squad.
The 31-year-old was unfairly criticised in his first few months at Liverpool but he has performed well at centre-back in his last two games and proved why he was a shrewd summer addition.
Klavan started Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against West Ham last week and the 3-0 victory against Middlesbrough on Wednesday evening and looked composed.
He filled in for injured Joel Matip against Boro but looked the stronger out of the two centre-backs, with Dejan Lovren producing the odd nervy moment in a fairly comfortable victory.
Lovren and Matip have built a strong partnership in defence this season but Klavan was only brought as a squad player in the summer so expectations should not be so high.
He has been compared to Matip, who also joined in the summer and has been fantastic for the Reds but Klavan has done well by his own standards.
The Estonian struggled alongside Lucas against Leeds in the EFL Cup but the defence as a whole lacked structure and organisation. Alongside Matip and Lovren, he has looked much more assured and composed.
Liverpool’s defence has been criticised in recent weeks but Klavan is not the problem, it is more about a goalkeeping weakness in the side and a need for improved back-up.
Lucas is not good enough to play at centre-back so Jurgen Klopp should look to replace him in January, especially given Mamadou Sakho’s imminent departure. Klavan is a very capable squad player so his position shouldn’t be under threat.
In other Liverpool news, Klopp has given the green light for this midfielder to seal a deal in January.