Jurgen Klopp looks set to face an unexpected battle to keep Dejan Lovren at Anfield this summer amid reports AC Milan are preparing an approach to Liverpool.
The Croatian defender, 30 next month, has dropped to fourth choice in Klopp’s defensive pecking order with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez seemingly the preferred options as Virgil van Dijk’s central defensive partner.
And although Lovren started last season alongside Van Dijk in the heart of Liverpool’s defence, injuries and a loss of form restricted him to just 18 appearances in all competitions – meaning links away hardly come as a surprise.
Nonetheless, Klopp will fight to keep Lovren at Anfield this summer as he is still rated highly by the German and, despite reports linking the club with a huge move for Ajax sensation Matthijs De Ligt, Liverpool look unlikely to sign the Dutch teenager for one major reason.
According to reports in the Italian media, Lovren will be targeted by AC Milan’s new managerial regime as they look to return to the upper echelons of Serie A next season. That comes via Gianluca DiMarzio, who claims the club hope the promise of regular first-team football will be enough to persuade the former Southampton man to push for the move to the San Siro.
With two years remaining on his deal, and with Liverpool holding the option to extend that by a further 12 months, the Reds remain in the driving seat over the player’s future.
But Klopp would be loathe to keep an unhappy player if Lovren asked to leave and the club could have a decision on their hands if he asks to be allowed the chance to move on.
The player himself has been nothing but a loyal servant to Klopp during their time together at Anfield and beamed about his inspirational chat ahead of the memorable 4-0 victory over Barcelona.
The player has also claimed the Reds will be strong contenders to win the Premier League next season, saying: “When Klopp came, every year we did better and better. Last season we did quite well, we had quite a lot of injuries and reached the final of the Champions League.
“This year, with the new players, we reached second place with 97 points, it’s incredible.
“And again the final of the Champions League so definitely we are again one of the contenders for next year to do something great.
“With this team, we can only improve.”
But whether next season’s title challenge will be with Lovren on board remains to be seen…
Get the latest personalised Reds products on our new TEAMtalk Liverpool shop!