Dejan Lob-ren: Hapless Zenit star savaged by fans after chipping keeper with his chest in spectacular own-goal for Spartak (VIDEO)
A litany of Liverpool fans tweeted their mirth after watching footage of Lovren attempting a backpass in the first half of the crunch showdown at the Gazprom Arena, gifting Spartak an equalizer after Iran forward Sardar Azmoun had given the hosts an early lead.
After the team who were bidding to draw level with Zenit at the top of the table attempted a hopeful cross into the penalty area, former Croatia center-back Lovren decided to chest the ball back to his keeper under little pressure close to the goalline.
Misreading Lunyov's positioning, his control caught his teammate unaware, looping impressively over the keeper's dive before arcing under the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Only Dejan Lovren could do this: pic.twitter.com/xEnwo4zuaJ— Watch LFC (@Watch_LFC) December 16, 2020
"It's a very dubious own goal by Dejan Lovren," said one surprised commentator, watching the defender, who arrived for more than $14 million from the reigning Premier League champions, turn back in embarrassment towards the halfway line.
The veteran spent six successful years at Anfield but was known for his occasional blunders, many of which sprang to mind as a predominantly Reds-supporting stampede of replies greeted the footage.
"Dejan Lovren's mind operates on a completely different frequency to any other human being, and I adore him for it," said one, while another observed: "This is so Lovren. The right idea but done horribly wrong."
Lovren was something of a marquee signing for Zenit as the club targeted European success at the start of the season before finishing rock bottom of their Champions League group.
"Lovren is excellent more often than not and you are using his first major mistake in a Zenit shirt as vindication for having an obvious agenda against the guy for no reason," argued one apologist in a row with another fan.
I can’t believe we got actual money for him.— Lana🧚🏽♀️ (@Cocolitooo) December 16, 2020
Hahaha! Lovren's a joke!!! 🤣🤣🤣 https://t.co/SU1mQ4crzR— Valentino (@ValentinoGatt_) December 16, 2020
Lovren's CV:✅ Consistent— Nicholas Mamo (@NicholasMamo) December 16, 2020
"I've been saying all this time that he's a good player," retaliated the initial meme-maker. "Just not worth [that money], and not a player that'll take Zenit to the next level."
The eye-catching error is far from the first time that the 2018 World Cup finalist has hit the headlines for unusual reasons.
He was described as having a "brain the size of a pea" for claiming that Liverpool could go unbeaten during the 2018/19 season, savaged for outlandish boasting as Croatia crumpled in the Nations League in 2018 and described as "brain-dead on and off the pitch" for endorsing baseless Covid-19 conspiracy theories earlier this year.
Speaking to RT.com after the World Cup final in Russia, goalkeeping great Peter Schmeichel gave a scathing assessment of Lovren's pre-match remarks before Croatia's defensively dodgy 4-2 defeat to France.
“One of the big things through the past week has been the statement from Dejan Lovren, who’s come out and done this 'hey, look at me, I am a really good defender,'" said Schmeichel.
Was anyone ever saying he was good?— Danil Dovgan-Eugene (@Dovganlinho) December 16, 2020
Yeah. He's still good and been solid this season but he's always got loads of these errors in him. Not worth 12 million by any measure and not a world beater— Hanu (@H4nuu) December 16, 2020
Loveren is Lovren— LFC Lets do More (@uka8) December 16, 2020
"'You all criticized me, but in fact I am one of the best defenders in the world.’ That is a very bad idea to say that.
"Today he didn’t show that he was one of the best. His partner Domagoj Vida did not show that either. They were not very good today."
Fortunately for the 31-year-old, his latest lamentable mistake did not cause lasting damage to Zenit's title charge.
Lovren would have watched on with ample relief as Ukrainian defender Yaroslav Rakitskiy restored his side's lead in the 73rd minute, before Russia captain Artem Dzyuba sealed a 3-1 win in added time.
Zenit's 12th win out of 19 league matches sent them a commanding six points clear of Spartak, although Lovren will almost certainly have to endure teasing from Mo Salah, Liverpool's expert scorer at the right end of the pitch who is one of his best friends.Also on rt.com WATCH: Lovren teases 'tight' Salah over new haircut as pals catch up on FaceTime after defender joins Russian champions Zenit