Dejan Lovren has left Liverpool for Zenit in a £10.9 million move
The Russian side will now give Lovren a home, and he leaves to mixed fanfare. A much maligned figure in recent years, Lovren has been divisive figure amongst Liverpool supporters due to his lack of consistency and noticeable individual errors.
But looking retrospectively, the Croatian’s six years at Anfield can be considered a success.
He scored his first Anfield goal not for the Reds, but for his previous employers Southampton in 1-0 win in 2013/14. This was a key result in a campaign which Liverpool came so close to winning the Premier League title.
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He suffered an injury in the second half of his campaign with the Saints, but this didn’t stop Brendan Rodgers and the vilified transfer committee shelling out £20 million on him after the departure of club legend Daniel Agger.
His first campaign was by far his worst.
2014/15 was the definition of a cataclysmic debut season, both for Dejan Lovren and Liverpool football club as a whole.
Following the departure of Luis Suarez and Agger (who people do fail to mention), Brendan Rodgers’s men slumped to sixth, were knocked out of the Europa League to Besiktas after a dismal Champions League campaign, and lost to Aston Villa in the FA Cup Semi-Final.
It was Lovren’s penalty miss which knocked the Reds out of Europe – just an overriding symbol of the awful season he had.
2015/16 brought less hardship and definitive improvement alongside Mamadou Sakho, phasing out veteran Martin Skrtel.
He was left wanting on quite a few occasions still, but was exposed heavily by the marauding Alberto Moreno – as were Liverpool in their entirety, especially in the Europa League final.
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16/17 again, progress for Lovren, but inconsistency still prevailed- his partnership with Sakho was now voided, and he was replaced by Joel Matip, and on occasion Ragnar Klavan.
He had a poor start to the campaign but produced a man of the match performance at Stamford Bridge, in a 2-1 win over the eventual champions. He also scored the opening goal in this bout.
He shone by dominating Romelu Lukaku at Anfield alongside Matip – the two played 15 games together, and were unbeaten in 14. The only loss was Liverpool’s last home loss in the league to this day, against Crystal Palace in April 2017.
His worst performance came the following October at Wembley – a game in which Liverpool were torn apart by Tottenham.
Lovren was withdrawn after half an hour after two individual errors allowed Spurs to dominate early on. But this was a campaign that flipped 180 degrees after the arrival of Virgil van Dijk.
Lovren played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s journey to Kiev, even keeping Cristiano Ronaldo quiet and being the Reds’ man of the match as individual errors from Loris Karius cost Liverpool the UEFA Champions League trophy.
He had a reduced role last season, playing just 14 times in the league, but when he did he was excellent alongside Virgil van Dijk.
He played brilliantly from October through till January before picking up an injury in the FA Cup defeat to Wolves – but returned as Liverpool aimed to secure the league title.
Obviously they didn’t, but Lovren did pick up a Champions League medal.
He only made ten appearances this season, but was again important in seven consecutive wins from October to December – including the mammoth 3-1 win over Manchester City.
Lovren made individual errors in the defeat to Watford – but barring this, he has had another good season displaying his improvement over the previous six years.
His career at Anfield has been far from perfect. But his passion, commitment and desire has him leaving a Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup winner.