Dejan Lovren has been one of the longest-serving players for the club. The Croatia international arrived at the Merseyside club in 2014 from Southampton and has since had a roller-coaster of a ride for the Reds. Initially featuring regularly in the first team, the Croat has been demoted to the bench in recent times.
Despite this, Lovren wants to fight for a place in the team and in a recent interview with Sky, the former Lyon man has said “It has been a test for me. But in these moments, I think you should stick with the team even more, to show your quality even if you are not on the pitch with the first XI. The next day in training, you should give everything, just to respect your team-mates.
“Of course, it’s not the happiest moment when I see myself on the bench, but it’s the decision of the manager. I respect it and I am always the guy who will work 200 per cent behind closed doors. It’s just part of football. If 20 players could play, it would be nice, but there are only 11 places. Whoever is in the best shape will play and that’s fair enough.”
The contributions of Lovren in recent times
Virgil van Dijk, since his acquisition, has been a wall for the side and many would hail him to be the best centre-back in the world right now. He has been instrumental behind the success of the club, and a Liverpool team without the Dutchman just cannot be fathomed at the moment. With the ex-Celtic man cementing one position in the centre-back role, the manager has had to rotate between a few of his players for the other available spot.
Joel Matip is a Klopp favourite, and the German manager brought him to Liverpool in 2016. However, he has not put in the performances that the manager would have hoped for, and now it is apparent that Matip has to upgrade his skillset to be the first choice for the European champions.
Now for the good part, Joe Gomez has been a revelation for the Premier League champion designate this season. The 23-year-old has established himself as the partner of van Dijk in the heart of the defence, and it can be safely presumed that the England international would continue to shine for the club for a long time to come.
The rise of these three players has taken a toll on the game time of Lovren, and gradually his future has been left hanging in the balance. The supporters remember him for the mistakes that he has committed, which at times have proven to be costly. The World Cup finalist has not received his due admiration from the club, and thus it should have been easy for frustrations to creep in for the defender.
This term, Lovren has proved his worth whenever called upon to do so. The injuries to Gomez and Matip have meant that the Liverpool outcast has been asked to take the field nine times in the Premier League and his performances throughout the season have radically improved.
Does he have a future at Liverpool?
The Reds have set specific transfer targets for this summer, and a centre-back is not exactly on the priority list. Lovren, on his part, has done his duties well making 4.4 clearances per 90 minutes in the league. His passing has also been accurate with him amassing 83.4% of successful passes. These figures can give some hope to Klopp in what could be an impending decision to retain Lovren.
Lovren has also shown immense character and his willingness to give his hundred percent for the club every time that he dons a Liverpool shirt on must be admired. The fixtures would pile up at a certain point in the season, and those are the times that the manager will understand the worth of the player. For now, we can say that Lovren has always been a fighter and will continue to remain so till his last day for the club.
Stats from Whoscored.