Dejan Lovren Says He 'Wanted to Leave' Liverpool, but Turned Down Roma Move

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 4, 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

Dejan Lovren has revealed he wanted to leave Liverpool in the summer, but turned down a move to Roma because he did not want to go on loan.

The defender told Croatian outlet Sportske Novosti (h/t Goal's Stephen Darwin) he felt "relief" when the transfer window shut and said manager Jurgen Klopp told him he's still in his plans:

"There will be a lot of matches, some injuries are possible too. I wanted to leave, it didn't happen, I was told Liverpool need me and I accepted that. It was not meant to be for me to leave.

"Last week I spoke to Klopp again, he told me he understands me, knows I am not happy, but he also said: 'Look, now it [the transfer window] is finished, I want you to reset your head, you're important.'"

Lovren made just 18 appearances in all competitions last season. After missing the first two months of the campaign through injury, he struggled to get back into the team.

Joel Matip and Joe Gomez—until he faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines after undergoing ankle surgery—were ahead of him in the pecking order to partner the virtually ever-present Virgil van Dijk.

The centre-back said he "wasn't happy" with the situation and did not want to sit on the bench collecting his paycheck each week.

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Goal's Jack Sear shared more of his comments:

Lovren was linked with a departure to Roma over the summer, but he explained why it did not happen: "Milan contacted me but Roma were the most persistent. But negotiations didn't go well. I don't want to go somewhere and prove to someone who I am and how I play and whether I'm ready or not."

The 30-year-old added he didn't want "someone checking me, my quality" during a loan spell.

ESPN's Melissa Reddy reported the Giallorossi tried to sign him on a temporary basis:

Lovren has made some high-profile errors since he joined Liverpool in 2014, but he has also enjoyed some strong spells at Anfield, too.

He is yet to feature in a matchday squad for Liverpool in the Premier League this season, though that might change with the transfer window now closed and his immediate future resolved.

Forcing his way back into the side won't be easy. Liverpool boasted the best defensive record in the league last season, shipping just 22 goals in 38 games, of which Lovren only started 11.

He, Gomez and Matip are competing for one space in the back line as long as Van Dijk is fit, barring an unlikely system change from Klopp mid-season.

The Reds will be aiming to compete on multiple fronts, though, and with that there should be some opportunities for him to make a case for himself.