Dejan Lovren has backed his close friend Mohamed Salah to stay with Liverpool for the long term, though he stressed “the love needs to be from both ways” for it to happen.
Lovren and Salah developed a tight bond during their time together on Merseyside, and remain close despite the centre-back having left to join Zenit St Petersburg.
Now captain of the Russian side, Lovren is able to watch from afar as his former side push on in the Premier League and Champions League, ironically with a series of problems at the heart of the defence.
Up front, Salah has remained in imperious form, with 22 goals and four assists in 32 games this season, leading the Golden Boot race in the league with 16 goals, at least three clear of any other player.
There remain question marks over his future with Liverpool, however, particularly following a questionable interview with AS in December in which he lauded Real Madrid and Barcelona as “top clubs” and said “we never know what is going to happen.”
Salah has, however, reiterated his commitment to the Reds on a number of occasions, with the message being that “it is in the hands of the club” – which has now been repeated by Lovren.
“I think it needs to be from both ways, the love,” Lovren told talkSPORT, when asked if Salah could end his career at Anfield.
“Like I see it now, they have it. So why not?
“Mo is in the best age of his football career, he’s 28. Maybe he looks a little bit older! But he’s in the peak of his form, so why not stay another four, five, six years?”
Lovren said that he and Salah “talk about everything,” and that the No. 11 remains as committed as ever to the cause on Merseyside, with the Croatian praising his former team-mate’s individual form this season.
“Of course [he is committed]. Not just for Liverpool, he’s for all the fans around, his supporters and for himself,” he continued.
“He’s his biggest critic when he doesn’t do well.
“I’m not surprised that he’s doing quite well individually. Maybe not in the team performance, but individually when you look at how many goals he’s scored, he’s doing amazing at the moment.”
As Lovren points out, Salah is currently in his peak age as a Premier League forward, though the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are evidence that standards can still be maintained into a player’s mid-30s.
He is also tied to Liverpool until 2023, which puts both the player and his club in a strong position – though it could be that this summer, with two years left on his deal, a big decision will be made.