Former Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has revealed a recent message he received from Jurgen Klopp amid his current centre-back shortage.
The Reds have lost Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to long-term injuries, while Joel Matip’s flaky injury record has not helped.
As such, defensive midfielder Fabinho has become Liverpool’s senior centre-back. What’s more, boss Klopp has paired him with fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson in recent matches.
The Anfield club would have had Lovren as an option, had he not left for Zenit St Petersburg last summer.
But he insisted that he has no regrets about making the decision to seek pastures new.
“No, I don’t regret [leaving],” the 31-year-old told Sport Express in Russia. “My decision in the summer was firm – to leave Liverpool, and I do not look back.
“I got upset last season when I didn’t play, but now everything is different.
“I think Liverpool miss me more than I miss them and Jurgen Klopp knows this, because we communicate. He wrote recently: ‘We miss you.’
“I spoke with Jurgen [after I left], but I will not disclose details. Jurgen said only good things and wished him luck.”
Lovren made 185 appearances for Liverpool after joining from Southampton in 2014. But while he proved a vital figure for some time, Van Dijk’s arrival and Gomez’s emergence hampered his chances.
Nevertheless, the defender still watches his former club from afar and opened up on Van Dijk’s injury recovery.
The Dutchman is in the process of long-term rehabilitation following a serious knee injury he suffered in October.
It remains unlikely that he will have much impact on this season, however Lovren has backed Van Dijk to recovery fully for the European Championships.
Lovren offers Van Dijk advice
“We talked about his recovery, about the knee,” the Croatian said. “You know that Virgil has a serious injury – the cruciate ligaments are damaged.
“Moreover, when this happened, at first he did not even feel anything. He starts to walk, everything is fine, and after a few steps it gets worse and worse.
“But I hope he will be back in service soon. I advised Van Dijk not to speed up the recovery [to be fit] by Euro 2020.
“If the risk of relapse persists, it is best to wait. Virgil is young for a centre-back, he is only 29 years old. There will still be major tournaments in his career.”
Liverpool’s problem of late, though, has not been in defence. Instead, their star trio of forwards have struggled to find their best form.