The Croatian insists that he has no regrets after leaving Klopp’s side in the Summer to join Russian Premier League giants Zenit Saint Petersburg. Lovren was a very divisive figure during his time on Merseyside but do his recent comments have any fact to them?
Lovren: “They miss me more than I miss them.”
Signed from Southampton FC for £20m in 2014. Dejan Lovren was expected to be a major influence on the then Rodgers’ defence.
Many believed that he would be the man to seal the leaky defence and propel Liverpool to their first Premier League title in 25 years.
Unfortunately – his first season at Anfield was turbulent.
Liverpool conceded an appalling 50 league goals which cost them the league title in 2013/14.
The number six played 26 times for Brendan Rodgers in the league in 2014/15. Accumulating a total of 2,034 minutes. Liverpool only managed to notch 8 clean sheets in an average season where the side limped to 6th after an upturn in form had many supporters hopeful of Champions League qualification for the second consecutive season.
Thus, his first season in the North-West was scarcely a success. Sadly, the situation did not improve in the next two-and-a-half seasons. Liverpool leaked 48 in 14/15, 50 in 15/16, 42 in 16/17 & 28 in the 23 games prior to Virgil van Dijk’s first league appearance in 17/18.
Relegation to 4th choice in the Centre Back pecking order
Up until this point, Lovren’s career was hardly thriving and many supporters were hoping that he would be offloaded prior to the 2018/19 season. Fortunately, Jürgen Klopp believed in the Croatian and found a slot for him as a squad member.
Lovren only featured for 1,261 minutes in 2018/19 across all competitions. Liverpool conceded a measly 22 goals on their way to Champions League glory and a 97-point season in the Premier League.
In the following campaign, Lovren featured for 1,190 minutes as Liverpool won the Premier League for the first time in 30 years whilst only conceding 33 in a COVID_19 ravaged campaign.
Sale to Zenit – Was it right?
Therefore, given his questionable performances and lack of minutes. Surely the Summer transfer window of 2020 would be the perfect time to move the Croatian on?
The Business Side of Things
Liverpool had suffered a major loss of match-day income as supporters were forced to stay home for their own safety. This decision influenced the transfer market majorly. Many clubs considered the loan market as the coffers were empty.
Michael Edwards and Jürgen Klopp have become renowned in Europe for their astute approach to transfer dealings. They have hardly put a toe wrong over the passed five years. Selling Lovren would surely be done to alleviate wages with the club free to sign Thiago Alcântara and Diogo Jota.
Many clubs survive without four senior centre backs of Liverpool’s calibre. Thus, moving the 2018 FIFA World Cup runner-up was a tap into an empty net.
Compared to their rivals. Liverpool’s central defenders were quite injury prone. Joe Gomez had missed a total of 97 Liverpool games at the start of the campaign. Joel Matip had been absent for 60. Thus, one could assume that there would be a time where both could be sidelined.
Virgil van Dijk is the only constant in the central defender ranks at Liverpool so if he were to pick up a major injury – Klopp’s lads would be in trouble.
Liverpool would be taking a major risk.
Tempting providence is often ill-advised.
A dark day at Goodison where a thug wearing goalkeeping gloves and a blind man in a VAR booth conspired to rob Liverpool of the World’s Best centre-back and the three points.
Joel Matip is a top drawer player when fit but unfortunately he is made of glass. He hardly ever gets a run of games without an injury.
Gomez would be our pillar then?
Not to be.
England training always finds a way to injure Liverpool’s best players and Joe picked up a patella problem when training for international duty.
Hindsight is 20/20 in 2020
“Degsy” may not have been perfect but he was pretty damn good as a fourth choice option. He picked up an average rating of 7,08 in 18/19 & 7,09 in 19/20.
Ratings like these can often be misleading so it is best not to read too much into them. However, he always come in from the cold and gave his best for the badge. His performance against Leicester City at Anfield last season immediately comes to mind.
We have had an incredible spell of success in recent seasons. However, I feel that if we were going to let Lovren go – a replacement was a necessity.
Moving Fabinho from the midfield has had a knock-on effect. We lack bite in midfield. His vision and ability to play around the opposition press is missing from our engine room.
He has performed admirably since the injury crises struck but I feel the low-block would be far less affective with the Brazilian in front of the defence. His ability to break up quick counter-attacks is world class.
We are still in this title fight – but in true Liverpool fashion. We have made things difficult for ourselves through rotten luck and unfortunate circumstances.