Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has said that a conversation with manager Jurgen Klopp over the summer persuaded him to stay at Anfield.
Is Dejan Lovren underrated?
Speaking to Sky Sports, the 30-year-old admitted that he would have considered his future had the Reds not won the Champions League final last season and decided to stay put amid interest from other suitors.
The Croatian had reportedly been close to a move to AC Milan over the summer, with Tuttomercatoweb claiming that his agent had met with the Serie A club to discuss a potential transfer.
Lovren told Sky Sports: “I would ask myself if we didn’t win [the Champions League final], should I stay or not and there was some interest with some other clubs but I had a good conversation with the manager. After that, the decision was easy so I stayed and I think we are on the right path to do something big this season again.”
Having made just 11 Premier League starts last season and played fewer minutes than fellow centre-backs Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez, it would have been understandable if Lovren wanted to leave in the summer.
He has averaged 5.5 aerial duels per game in the Premier League this season, the same as Van Dijk and second only to Matip in Liverpool’s squad. [via WhoScored]
That figure represents a notable improvement on his 2018/19 average of 4.1 headers won per game, while he has also upped his game in terms of a few other metrics.
This season, he is making more interceptions per game (1.3 to 0.8) and winning more tackles (1.3 to 1.2), as well as recording more clearances per game (5.5 to 3.9). [via WhoScored]
His tackling average for the current campaign is better than Van Dijk (0.8 per game) and Gomez (0.5 per game), while he is also ahead of both players for interceptions per game (Van Dijk one, Gomez 0.3). [via WhoScored]
From being Liverpool’s fourth-choice centre-back last season, Lovren has risen to the task commendably following the injury to Matip last month.
Klopp recently told Football Insider that the Croatian will not be sold in January and, on the evidence of the 30-year-old’s improvement from last term, the Liverpool manager is right to keep the revitalised Lovren at Anfield for another few months at least.
Liverpool fans, do you think Lovren has shown discernible improvement from last season? Were the club right to hang on to him during the summer? Give us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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