Dejan Lovren has revealed his class and professionalism as the Liverpool ace discussed his role in the current side and his lack of playing time.
The 30-year-old has made just 14 appearances so far this season, and while injuries have been a problem for him too, he has barely featured in the Premier League since December.
A big reason for that is he has fallen down the pecking order at Anfield, with the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip getting the nod ahead of him from Jurgen Klopp in the heart of the backline.
Given his experience and quality, despite the mistakes he has made in his time, Lovren arguably should be playing more regularly at this stage of his career.
However, he has perhaps revealed why he remains so important to Klopp and Liverpool while discussing his limited role and how he is still giving everything in training to battle for his place while respecting the decisions of the manager if he isn’t involved.
“It has been a test for me,” he told Sky Sports. “But in these moments, I think you should stick with the team even more, to show your quality even if you are not on the pitch with the first XI. The next day in training, you should give everything, just to respect your team-mates.
“Of course, it’s not the happiest moment when I see myself on the bench, but it’s the decision of the manager. I respect it and I am always the guy who will work 200 per cent behind closed doors. It’s just part of football. If 20 players could play, it would be nice, but there are only 11 places. Whoever is in the best shape will play and that’s fair enough.
“In some moments, of course, you also think to yourself that you want to play. It’s not the greatest moment when you don’t, but I have a mentality that is focused. I’m always ready. If someone is injured and coming off, I’m ready to step in and show my quality. I think I proved that last season, when Joe Gomez or Joel Matip were injured and I came in and played.”
That’s the kind of attitude and desire that has arguably helped maintain Liverpool’s competitiveness throughout the season, as they look to add a Premier League title to the Champions League that they won last year.
While he may have had a limited influence on matters on the pitch, Lovren’s leadership and ability to set the standard and tone in training and around the club will surely have played a key part in their success and time will tell how long that continues, as while he may be content in that role now, he may also be itching for a more prominent role which might only be available elsewhere.
For now though, with the Premier League set to restart this month, the focus for all concerned at Liverpool will be getting over the line and wrapping up the league crown and Lovren seemingly hasn’t wavered from helping them achieve that despite not being as involved as he would like to be.
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