Dejan Lovren has confirmed he “wanted to leave” Liverpool in the summer, but an intervention from Jurgen Klopp has seen him stay in a squad role.
Lovren was widely expected to leave the Reds for Serie A before Monday’s European deadline, but a proposed £15 million switch to AS Roma failed to materialise.
The Croatian was subsequently linked with loan moves to Roma, AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen, among others, but when midnight passed, he was still a Liverpool player.
Yet to feature this season—and only named in the matchday squad for the Community Shield—Lovren is firmly established as fourth-choice centre-back on Merseyside.
But after an injury crisis that saw Fabinho and Ki-Jana Hoever fill in last season, Klopp was unwilling to allow his No. 6 to depart on a temporary basis, as Lovren told Sportske Novosti.
“I feel relief the transfer window is closed. I got tired of reading and listening every day about me leaving or staying in Liverpool,” he explained.
“Everyone wrote ‘Dejan is here, Dejan is there’, and knew nothing! It annoyed me.
“Yes, I did consider moving. I knew I gave my best for Liverpool, won the Champions League, and I am not kind of player that likes to be benched and earn money.
“Some people around me advised me ‘what do you care? You are at a big club, shut up and take the money’. But I am not happy on the bench.
“I feel very happy because all the time I felt Liverpool was by me, I respect that a lot.
“Klopp told me ‘listen, buddy, you are top-class player, we will not let you go on loan. We need you’.
“I wanted to leave, it didn’t happen, I was told Liverpool need me and I accepted that.”
Lovren added that “negotiations did not go well” with Roma, and that he didn’t “deserve to be loaned.”
Lovren should be respected for his candour, with his desire to leave the club well-intentioned as he finds himself behind Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez in the push for a starting spot.
The 30-year-old described himself as being “in the worst possible situation among the defenders,” but that “there are so many games to play and there could be [opportunities to] re-emerge.”
That Liverpool were prepared to allow him to leave in a permanent deal shows the humility Klopp approaches his players with, but denying a loan move highlights the club’s growing business sense.
Included in the Reds’ squad for the Champions League group stage—seemingly depriving Hoever of a spot—Lovren could be required to step in and perform over the coming months.
Having “accepted” the club’s position regarding his future, Lovren can be expected to give his all when called upon.
But it would be no surprise if, when the transfer window opens again in January, Liverpool allowed him to depart were they to receive a reasonable offer.