Liverpool's Dejan Lovren out of Super Cup Amid Roma Transfer Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 13, 2019

SOUTH BEND, IN - JULY 19: Dejan Lovren of Liverpool during the pre-season friendly match between Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool FC at Notre Dame Stadium on July 19, 2019 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has been left out of the club's squad to face Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday amid rumours he could join AS Roma.

The Croatia international has slipped down the pecking order at Anfield and is now fourth choice in central defence. The Times (h/t the Mirror's Alex Smith) reported Liverpool are in talks with Roma and would accept £15 million for the player.

2019 UEFA Champions League winners Liverpool will face UEFA Europa League titleholders Chelsea at Vodafone Park in Istanbul, Turkey, but Lovren was omitted from Jurgen Klopp's squad, per the Liverpool Echo's Joe Rimmer.

Virgil van Dijk's place in defence is unquestioned, while fit-again Joe Gomez started Friday's Premier League win over Norwich City and looks likely to be the other first-choice centre-back. Cameroon international Joel Matip has reclaimed his place as third-choice in the position.

David Lynch of the Evening Standard touched upon Klopp's other covering options in central defence as being key to his decision:

David Lynch @LynchStandard

Dejan Lovren out of #LFC’s Super Cup squad with “illness” as he edges closer to a £15m Anfield exit. Jürgen Klopp willing to sanction a move due to faith in Fabinho’s ability to play centre-back and youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Ki-Jana Hoever. https://t.co/8BkUOgSUbq

Lovren—who turned 30 in July—played a large role in Klopp's first few seasons at Anfield and helped steer the Reds into title contention, albeit not immune from the occasional lapse in judgement.

The Croat also impressed at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and helped guide his country to their first final in the competition. It was around then that Lovren attracted attention for claiming he was "one of the best defenders in the world."

WhoScored.com highlighted statistics that indicated Liverpool were a superior team without Lovren, although replacing him with £75 million defender Virgil van Dijk is also likely to impact results significantly:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

Liverpool with and without Dejan Lovren starting in the Premier League since the start of the 2017/18 season For more player stats -- https://t.co/CEHiPQjiLe https://t.co/cNA4R6qdw2

Football Italia recently cited multiple reports suggesting Roma are also close to finalising a deal for Juventus and Italy defender Daniele Rugani.

The Giallorossi have made significant changes to their back line this summer and lost a great deal of experience when they sold centre-backs Kostas Manolas and Ivan Marcano to Napoli and Porto, respectively.

Commentator Adam Summerton noted the centre-back pairings of Serie A's other big teams, suggesting that's one area in which the capital club have fallen behind:

Adam Summerton @adamsummerton

Some very tasty CB combinations to come in @SerieA 🇮🇹 19/20 Koulibaly & Manolas De Ligt/Bonucci/Chiellini Romagnoli & Caldara Škriniar/Godín/De Vrij

The Premier League window closed on Thursday, but clubs from Italy are permitted to register new players until the evening of Friday, August 23.