Liverpool round-up: Lovren signs four year contract; manager hints at Sturridge move; new role for Gerrard
Central defender Dejan Lovren has defied his critics by signing a new four year deal at Anfield which will keep him at the club until 2021, with the Liverpool Echo claiming that it will see the Croatian earn £100,000 per week. The 27-year-old has been a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s first choice defence this season.
That could change next season with Klopp reportedly keen to bring Virgil Van Dijk to Merseyside, but the former Southampton man is clearly confident in his belief that he will be able to retain his place alongside Joel Matip in the heart of the Reds’ defence for years to come.
One man whose future is much less certain is striker Daniel Sturridge. The England international has recently returned to training after his latest injury problem, but West Ham boss Slaven Bilic has strongly hinted that he could make a summer move for the forward. The Daily Mail quote Bilic as saying:
“When he is on fire, he is a great player. We are going to see. We have our list of strikers. If you go back two or three seasons he was unbelievable. He plays very rarely but I watched Stoke against Liverpool. He came on and, with a couple of passes, he broke their defence. So of course he is showing that when he plays, but he plays very rarely.”
Sturridge has scored six goals this season, with only two in the Premier League, but he has made just nine starts in all competitions as he has struggled for fitness and form, failing to convince Klopp that he is deserving of a regular starting spot even when he has been fit enough to do so.
Off the field, club legend Steven Gerrard will take on a role as the manager of the club’s under 18s team next season. It will be part of a shake up of the youth coaching set-up with current under 18s boss Neil Critchley stepping up to manager the under 23s. Former captain Gerrard told the club website:
“I have really enjoyed my time at the Academy so far and feel I have learnt a lot from the coaching staff here already. After speaking to Alex [Inglethorpe], we feel as though it is time for me to step up and manage my own team. Neil [Critchley] has done a fantastic job with the U18s, so I hope I can continue where he left off, encouraging and nurturing players into the U23s and eventually the first-team setup.”
Gerrard has been involved with the academy for several months but now looks set to take a step up into his first managerial role at the club where he enjoyed a hugely successful playing career.
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