Dejan Lovren made an excellent comeback for Liverpool on Saturday, and the centre-back could not hide his delight at beating Everton.
The 27-year-old made his first appearance since the 1-1 draw against Chelsea on January 31, but produced a superb performance at Anfield.
He kept the Premier League‘s top goalscorer, Romelu Lukaku, quiet and silenced the many doubters who have questioned his ability in recent times.
Lovren admitted the 228th Merseyside derby showdown was a tough game, but felt Liverpool’s class shone through in the end, thanks to goals from Sadio Mane, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi.
“After a month-and-a-half of not playing, it’s great to be back in a winning team – especially in a derby,” Lovren said post-match.
“It’s always tough to play against Everton, with a lot of challenges. In the end, it’s a deserved win. They just had one chance in the first half and they made a goal.
“We knew they would be different than the last game. They had six or seven games in a row they won and a lot of games they played really well in.
“But we showed our quality again. We are still there in the top four – we need to continue like that.”
The Croatian also touched upon the absence of injured duo Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana, highlighting their importance but insisting the team will always have certain players who deliver.
“When we perform like a team, some individuals will come out and make the difference in the game,” he added.
“We’re missing both of them; they are top-quality players – Henderson the captain and Adam, who had an amazing game on international duty. Unfortunately, they are injured but hopefully they will come back soon.”
Saturday’s 3-1 win was one of Lovren’s standout displays for the Reds, and Jurgen Klopp‘s decision to bring him back in for Ragnar Klavan was vindicated.
It was a huge victory for the Reds, both in terms of getting one over on their rivals and aiding their top-four chances.