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Lovren ‘started from zero’ after snubbing Liverpool exit to remain part of Klopp’s plans

08:37 GMT 22/11/2019
Dejan Lovren Liverpool 2019-20
The Croatia international defender admits to having attracted interest over the summer, but a Champions League triumph convinced him to stay put

Dejan Lovren admits to having considered a move away from Liverpool over the summer, but was happy to start “from zero” again on the back of a Champions League triumph with the Reds.

The Croatia international has found himself slipping down the pecking order at Anfield.

He was once a big-money arrival on Merseyside, but has seen £75 million ($97m) signing Virgil van Dijk take his place as the main man in Jurgen Klopp’s back four.

Joel Matip has also impressed in a centre-half berth, while there is plenty of potential to unlock in the versatile Joe Gomez.

A lack of regular game time saw Lovren weigh up his options during the last transfer window, but he could not drag himself away from the reigning European champions.

He told Sky Sports: "It's a big place to leave after everything I went through here. There have been more positive days than the bad, especially after the Champions League final and the win was a big relief for me because I wanted to win something with this club, having been here for so many years.

"I would ask myself if we didn't win, should I stay or not and there was some interest with some other clubs but I had a good conversation with the manager. After that, the decision was easy so I stayed and I think we are on the right path to do something big this season again."

Lovren made just 18 appearances for Liverpool in the 2018-19 campaign, with injuries and fierce competition for places working against him.

He has only taken in six outings across all competitions this season, with the 30-year-old admitting that he has to prove himself all over again.

"I started from zero again to prove that I deserve to be in the first XI but that's football," Lovren added.

"When you've been out for months in the last season and didn't have so many minutes on the pitch, it's about restarting. In pre-season, I did hard work behind the scenes and again, maybe it didn't start as well as I thought it would, but I've been speaking with the manager, been patient and sometimes it's easy to say that but not to do.

"I did it in the end and everything came back... It's good to feel that you're important here again and this is what matters for every player."

Lovren is part of a Liverpool squad looking to chase down an elusive Premier League title, with Klopp’s men eight points clear at the top of the table heading into a trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.