Jurgen Klopp appears to favour a new contract for Dejan Lovren or even a new signing over an academy graduate. That’s going by his latest comments.
Sky Sports claimed yesterday that Liverpool plan to keep Lovren and extend his contract – if he’s still at the club. They’d activate an extension clause, says Sky, unless the player moves on.
They don’t want to lose the player for free, it seems. Lovren only has one year remaining on his current deal, meaning he could leave for nothing in one year.
Klopp spoke about the potential of Lovren staying in a press conference on Tuesday.
“It’s always like this – we have four centre-halves and we play usually with two of them,” he said. “But we needed all four always, so a very, very important role.”
Before going on to say: “You need the quality we have on the centre-half position to be successful.”
Those words certainly point to four senior centre-backs at the club next season. It’s clear that Klopp doesn’t really want to go into contract specifics, though, and thus doesn’t actually go into any detail on Lovren’s.
But he leaves no doubt about his thoughts on centre-backs. He wants four senior options because it’s such an important role. It’s an unusual role, too, seeing as Liverpool exclusively play with two and there’s next-to-no versatility. That leaves little room for squad movement, with defenders who play other positions.
If you play centre-back, you’re a centre-back and Liverpool want four of them.
So if Lovren does leave, we think it’s a position the Reds might actually look to bring in someone new. That’s in contrast to everywhere else on the pitch where academy graduates appear to be viable options.
It’s important to consider why that may be, too – injuries. Virgil van Dijk is ever-present but both Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have had injury problems since arriving at Liverpool.
Even right now, Matip is out injured. If Gomez were to go down with one, too, then Lovren would step straight in.
Having two injury-prone options means you’re taking a risk by having an inexperienced fourth-choice. Klopp certainly seems to take the position very seriously when it comes to options and that’s why we believe Lovren may still be here next year.
And if he’s not, we think there’s a good chance we’ll see a new face replace him. Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever may have to wait for their turn.