However you may feel about Dejan Lovren, the 29-year-old centre-back has been a great servant to the Reds in his five-year tenure at Anfield and he can still offer a lot to Jürgen Klopp in reserve.
Sam McGuire at Football Whispers has made a logical, balanced argument for why Klopp should allow the Croatian to depart this summer, though I tend to fall on the other line of his rhetoric.
With AC Milan seemingly keen to bring the Reds centre-back to the San Siro for a mooted fee of €20-25 million, it is somewhat understandable that some see that as a good return for a defender out of favour.
Maldini Milan’s new technical director is looking for new players and his ‘dream’ is Dejan Lovren, who may be willing to leave since he has lost a spot in the starting eleven. The price £22M is a problem for Milan but they could soon find the money through sales. [@Gazzetta_it] pic.twitter.com/H4XmDtbVUN
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) July 1, 2019
That said, I appreciate McGuire’s intelligently statement that: “Even if he’s no longer considered a starter for Jürgen Klopp, he’s still a valuable member of the squad. The German tactician has shown faith in him on a number of occasions when he’s recalled him for big matches.
“Alongside Virgil van Dijk he was, for the most part, a reliable performer and it would be difficult to replace someone of his quality for the money Liverpool are reportedly prepared to accept.
“There’s a lot of merit to this argument. It would be difficult to use that £25 million to bring in a third/fourth-choice centre-back without there being an obvious drop in performance levels.”
This a personally how I feel about Lovren; however, McGuire goes on to suggest that the Reds can do without Lovren now that presumed first-choice Joe Gomez is back and the admirable Joël Matip has signed a new contract after standing in impressively.
For him, the fourth spot can be handed to a youngster looking to make a name for themselves and he explicitly names the Reds new £1.3 million Sepp Van den Berg, as well as throwing Fabinho’s name into the hat.
Me on why Van den Berg’s arrival could being Lovren’s Liverpool career to an end. https://t.co/VjAIRy0YYp
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) July 3, 2019
Van den Berg is only 17-years-old and it seems unlikely he’d be ready to step into the Premier League if called upon.
The more convincing side of McGuire’s argument is that Lovren’s main issue is that he is injury-prone – an accusation often levelled at Gomez
Of Lovren, he claimed: “He missed all of August and the majority of September. He missed the tie against Arsenal in November with a slight knock. He was ruled out for a couple of games in December after a clash of heads in training.
“The one-time Lyon defender then limped off with a hamstring problem against Wolves in the first week of January and didn’t feature again until the final day of March.”
“You can have all the quality in the world but if your body isn’t reliable you’re of very little use to a team, not even as a fourth-choice option.”
This is, of course, a factual evaluation, but as a fourth-choice option we can potentially afford to have Lovren on the sidelines sometimes. Obviously it’s not ideal, but with the inherent quality the No. 6 has, Klopp would be hard-pressed to sign a replacement as good as him, or who is as rooted in the squad.
Anybody else think that Sepp van den Berg could be our fourth choice centre back if Lovren were to leave? Seems a little pointless buying someone else given the lads capabilities.
— Matt (@FalseFMatt) July 3, 2019
In my opinion, Lovren should stay at Anfield as we look to compete on four fronts next season. Yes, he has a mistake in him, but alongside Van Dijk he can still be a capable partner.
Few teams can boast a World Cup finalist and Champions League winner as their fourth-choice centre-back – if he’s good enough to compete as a starter for Milan, he’s good enough to be our last line of defence.