Dejan Lovren has insisted he has no regrets over leaving Liverpool for Zenit St Petersburg last summer, and has claimed the club “miss me more than I miss them.”
Now, however, the Reds are without both Van Dijk and Gomez for the long term, while Matip faces an ongoing battle with regular fitness issues, leaving Fabinho partnering a revolving door of stand-ins.
Liverpool could arguably benefit from a player like Lovren during this shortage, despite the grievances of supporters over his input during his time on Merseyside, but the Croatian insists he is settled at Zenit.
In a lengthy interview conducted with Zenit during their winter break – a time in which it has been proposed he could return to his former club on a short-term loan – the 31-year-old said: “I think they miss me more than I miss them.”
“I never regret anything and this is a feeling I don’t allow in my head,” he said, when asked about the prospect of more regular game time at Liverpool due to the number of injuries.
“I made the decision to leave Liverpool. I wasn’t feeling happy there towards the end, because I wasn’t playing.
“I am happy that I decided to come here and I think they miss me more than I miss them.
“Jurgen Klopp knows that, we sometimes chat and he once wrote to me that he misses me. I did not answer that.”
At 31, Lovren believes he made the right decision moving to Zenit – who are currently four points clear at the top of the Russian Premier League table – having made 23 appearances for the club so far this season, with five as captain.
He appears to have taken the armband on a permanent basis at this stage, with previous incumbent Artem Dzyuba stripped of the role in November, which Lovren says was “unexpected.”
But his comments on whether Zenit would be able to compete in the English top flight suggest he acknowledges he made a step down in leaving Liverpool for Russia.
“Zenit’s problem is not the quality of players at the club, but in their attitude to the game,” he explained when asked where he feels his new side would finish in the Premier League.
“You can’t relax, you need to be ready to battle in every match. As soon as you relax, you are immediately punished.
“So to answer your question, if our players were ready to battle in every game, then we would have a good chance of finishing mid-table.”
For all parties, Lovren’s £10.9 million switch was the right move, but he may be correct in claiming Klopp may be missing him at this desperate point in the absence of Van Dijk and Gomez.
Nevertheless, this is not to suggest the Liverpool manager hasn’t moved on – and there will be no regrets on either side.