The club confirmed its 23-man squad for the UEFA Super Cup against Chelsea on Tuesday morning, and the 30-year-old Croatian was not among the group. The official release claims that Lovren is ill, but the ESPN report states the absence is due to an impending deal.
The report states that Roma is interested in a deal for around $18 million and that “positive negotiations” are under way. The club reportedly expects to recoup the entire $24 million fee paid to acquire Lovren from Southampton five years ago thanks to add-ons. His contract expires in the summer of 2021, having signed an extension in April of 2017.
Lovren saw his playing time sharply decline last season due to a combination of injury troubles and poor form, falling behind Joe Gomez and Joel Matip for a starting place alongside Virgil Van Dijk. Still, Lovren has been generally a regular in the squad since joining n the summer of 2014, making 170 total appearances for the club in his four seasons.
A potential sale of Lovren nonetheless would be surprising in the sense that Liverpool is somewhat thin in central defense, and the club has only brought on 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg in that position this summer. With just van Dijk, Gomez, Matip, and van den Berg on the books, offloading Lovren after the transfer deadline would leave the defending Champions League title winners vulnerable in a position they faced an injury crisis just last year. Van de Berg is reportedly highly thought of at Anfield and the club could be clearing a path for the Dutch youngster, while Fabinho deputized at center-back out of necessity last season and could be an option again if needed.