Dejan Lovren’s Liverpool departure was originally met with minimum fuss. The 31-year-old was effectively fourth-choice at Anfield and had every right to want a new opportunity elsewhere.
However, as time has progressed, the decision to let the Croatia international leave has proven far more consequential than first anticipated.
For one, the three defenders who were ahead of him in the pecking order are currently all injured. So, it’s fair to assume, had he stayed, Lovren would have been an integral player under Jurgen Klopp this term.
Ironically, Lovren left due to a lack of game-time and wanted the reassurance of his position in the team.
Indeed, he now has that with his current club side Zenit St Petersburg, but had that guarantee been there with Liverpool it’s unlikely he would have left Anfield.
Lovren still a topic of debate at Liverpool
Hindsight is a powerful tool, and it has proven one of Liverpool’s greatest undoings this season.
Remarkably, Liverpool have started with 10 different centre-back combinations in their 17 Premier League matches this season. It’s fair to assume, that had Lovren stayed, this number would have been significantly reduced.
He has remained durable all season for Zenit, after all. Starting 17 of the 19 league matches in the Russian top-flight in 2020/21.
This undoubtedly will come as a bitter pill to swallow for Liverpool. Had Lovren remained at Anfield there is no doubt he would have been entrusted by Klopp to take the role as the club’s chief defensive lynchpin.
Alongside Fabinho, the duo could have built up an impressive partnership. So much chopping and changing has hindered Liverpool this season. Had they kept Lovren, such a scenario could have been avoided.
However, rather than ponder over the decision to sell Lovren, Liverpool need to draw up a solution to combat an abundance of defensive casualties.
Buying a centre-back in January seems the natural response, although according to The Athletic, this doesn’t appear to be the cause of action the club will choose to take.
What remains certain, then, is that Lovren’s ability to remain injury-free inevitably questions the club’s decision to sell.
Until the Reds uncover a long-term solution, the decision regarding Lovren will continually look to hurt Liverpool.