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Rodgers backs confident Lovren

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes a confident and settled Dejan Lovren is ready to impress in defence for his team this season.

Lovren, 26, was a surprise starter at centre-back for Rodgers' side as they claimed a 1-0 win over Stoke City in their Premier League opener.

After a good performance, the Croatia international is set to be part of an unchanged back four for Monday's meeting with Bournemouth at Anfield.

It comes after an unimpressive debut campaign at Liverpool for the £20million signing, but Rodgers feels Lovren is ready to justify his price tag.

"I thought that back four last week were exceptional," Rodgers said, having started Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne either side of Lovren and Martin Skrtel.

"I thought he [Lovren] was very, very good last week. I think it's confidence. I felt - and I said it last year - in his second year he'll be a better player here.

"It's such a huge move to come to a club like this and it's only when they're in they recognise the expectations that are here.

"It was about trying to find that balance early on in pre-season. We've got excellent players here in [Mamadou] Sakho, Kolo [Toure], but centre-halves will tell you it's about finding that comfort with a partner, that partnership.

"And I thought the two centre-halves were very good last week and Dejan in particular where he's aggressive, good in the air, his reading of the game was good and his passing was simple but effective.

"I think he's gained confidence in pre-season and hopefully that will be maintained."