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'I will always be here if I am needed' - Lovren admits he considered leaving Liverpool

11:00 EAT 26/10/2019
Dejan Lovren Liverpool 2018-19
The defender revealed that he could have gone in the summer, but that he is happy to stay and fight for his place at Anfield

Dejan Lovren admits he considered leaving Liverpool in the summer – but says he is happy he chose to stay and fight for his place at Anfield. 

The Croatian was heavily linked with a move away from Merseyside during the close-season, with a number of clubs across Europe making enquiries. Liverpool, for their part, would have been willing to sell at the right price.

Lovren, though, would eventually remain, with the Reds rejecting a loan offer from Roma back in August. Interest from AC Milan, meanwhile, failed to develop into anything more concrete, with Lovren telling Jurgen Klopp he was ready to stay if needed.

The 30-year-old began the season as fourth-choice centre-back, but with Joel Matip struggling with a knee issue, Lovren has found himself ahead of Joe Gomez in the pecking order of late. He is in line to start against Tottenham on Sunday if Matip fails to recover in time.

Vindication, then, for his decision?

“I will always be here if I am needed,” Lovren said. “I am giving more than 100 per cent for this club from day one. There are good days and bad days but six years is quite a long time. Everything, at the moment, is fine. 

“Let's see what will happen. It was a challenge for me this summer to stay here but I gave everything in pre-season and I fought. There are always some new challenges in front of you. It depends whether you accept them or not but it also depends on whether you are needed in the team or not. 

“In the end I stayed and I am quite happy.”

Lovren made just 18 appearances last season, with Matip and Gomez featuring more frequently, but believes the way he has stepped in recently shows he has the character and mentality to be an important player for Klopp.

“That is part of the job, to work hard behind the scenes even if you don't get a chance,” he said. “I always believed in myself and giving 100 per cent on the training ground. The boss sees it and in the end, it is his decision who plays or not. I am a fighter.

“That's the key point, to be patient. There are players who are patient and there are players who are not patient. Me? I am struggling! But it is part of the game and you need to accept it. 

“You are fighting with yourself and your character. It is always about fighting and the fighting spirit.”

Lovren, of course, is not the only player hoping to seize the opportunities that come his way. In the past week alone, the likes of Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita have pressed their own claims with impressive performances.

“This is a big improvement from ourselves,” said Lovren. “When you look back two or three years, when some changes came in the game you didn't see [the effect of the] changes.

“Now when a couple of players come in, especially the [Manchester] United game when three players came on, the tempo of the game changed quickly.

“I am pleased for Adam and it says a lot about us, it is not easy when you don't play for 10 games and then you just come in and everyone expects you should play as if you have played for three months. It is not easy like that. Naby, Adam, Chambo, Joe – they have all done great.”