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Liverpool preparing for Lovren sale amid interest from Zenit

21:06 BST 12/07/2020
Dejan Lovren Liverpool 2019-20
The Croatian defender is set to leave Anfield this summer in search of first-team football

Liverpool are ready to sell Dejan Lovren this summer – with Zenit St Petersburg among the clubs interested in signing the Croatia international.

Lovren has been with the Reds since 2014 but is ready to move in search of regular first-team football. 

The 31-year-old is behind both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip in the Anfield pecking order, and has made only 15 appearances in all competitions this season. His last start came at Watford in February, when Jurgen Klopp’s side were beaten for the first time in the Premier League. 

Liverpool are aware of interest from a number of clubs, with Zenit’s believed to be particularly strong. 

Reports in Russia have even suggested Lovren may be available as a free transfer, despite having a year left to run on his Reds contract. Goal, though, understands that will not be the case, and that Liverpool will look to secure a fee for the former Southampton man.

Roma are another club to have been linked, having tried to sign him on loan last year, while there have also been enquiries from at least two Premier League clubs during the last six months.

Speaking to Sky Sports in June, Lovren admitted he has struggled to accept being fourth choice under Klopp.

"It has been a test for me," he said. “But in these moments, I think you should stick with the team even more, to show your quality even if you are not on the pitch with the first XI. The next day in training, you should give everything, just to respect your team-mates.

"Of course, it's not the happiest moment when I see myself on the bench, but it's the decision of the manager. I respect it and I am always the guy who will work 200 per cent behind closed doors.

"It's just part of football. If 20 players could play, it would be nice, but there are only 11 places. Whoever is in the best shape will play and that's fair enough.”

Should Lovren depart, it will leave Liverpool light on centre-back options. Matip and Gomez have shared duties alongside Virgil van Dijk this season, but both have a history of injury problems – Matip is ruled out for the rest of this campaign with a foot problem, for example.

The Reds signed two promising Dutch teenagers, Ki-Jana Hoever and Sepp van den Berg, in 2018 and 2019 respectively, but neither has featured yet in the Premier League, although both impressed in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury back in February. There are also high hopes at the Academy for 17-year-old Frenchman Billy Koumetio, who was on the bench for the Carabao Cup game with Arsenal last October. 

Nat Phillips will return from a loan spell with Stuttgart, but has made only one senior appearance, as an emergency deputy against Everton in January.