Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits Dejan Lovren’s performance against Crystal Palace may have had fans calling for the defender to be sold but it had no bearing on his decision to secure him on a long-term contract.
The Croatia international has signed a new deal, which Press Association Sport understands takes him up to 2021 with an option for a further 12 months, as Klopp plans for the future with the often-maligned centre-back.
Only 12 months ago Lovren was the hero as he scored a dramatic 90th-minute winner against Borussia Dortmund to put Liverpool into the semi-finals of the Europa League, arguably the high point of what has been an up-and-down three years at the club.
Conversely, a faltering performance against Palace where he was dominated by former Liverpool team-mate Christian Benteke, who scored both goals in Sunday’s 2-1 win, was one of numerous low points.
Klopp, however, sees things with a more level head.
“In a situation like this I know how football supporters think: if you had asked them after the Dortmund game they would have said ‘Give him a 20-year contract’,” said the Reds boss.
“When you see the Crystal Palace game they think ‘Can we find another team who could have him?’.
“The truth is in between. In a situation like this you have to look outside.
“If Dejan played for another club you’d think about signing him and then you think what you’d have to pay for him and it would be a big number of money.
“Giving him a new contract, working with him, he is 27 years old – the best time for a centre-half is still to come.
“I don’t know a lot about it but I heard he had a difficult start at Liverpool but he has really settled so that’s really good.
“He is physically strong, quick and a good footballer. Sometimes decision-making could be better but no-one out there – and we watch a lot – is perfect.
“We really think he can help us a lot and we can help him in these few decisive parts of his game and that is what we want to do.
“I am so happy about the news.”