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Klopp hails Lovren after Zenit move

Origi heads off on holidays with memories of 'beautiful' season

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ON HIS WAY: Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren (left) and Mohamed Salah celebrate with the Premier League trophy

ON HIS WAY: Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren (left) and Mohamed Salah celebrate with the Premier League trophy

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ON HIS WAY: Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren (left) and Mohamed Salah celebrate with the Premier League trophy

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp paid tribute to Dejan Lovren after the defender completed a £10.9million move to Zenit St Petersburg.

The Croatia international has ended a six-year spell at Anfield after making just 15 appearances this season, falling to fourth-choice centre-back in the pecking order behind Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

Lovren, who was troubled with niggling injuries over the last two years, was set to enter the final year of his contract but Liverpool chose not to take up an option they had for a 12-month extension to allow the centre-back to sign a three-year contract with the Russian club.

"Another Liverpool legend who leaves the club, because he was absolutely a very, very important part of this team from the first day since I was in," Manager Jurgen Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.

"When he was fit, he was very, very, very often in the team. A great player and a great person.

"Really good, in the air a machine, and I really liked working together with him.

Luck

"It will be interesting to follow Zenit St. Petersburg now. I wish him the best of luck."

Arguably Lovren's greatest moment in a Liverpool shirt came when he scored a stoppage-time header to beat Borussia Dortmund 4-3 at Anfield in a Europa League quarter-final second leg tie which paved the way for them to reach the final in 2016.

His lowest point was being hauled off after just 31 minutes of the 4-1 defeat against Tottenham in October 2017.

"He played super games and scored one of the most important goals of our history in the 4-3 against Borussia Dortmund; a really wonderful moment to share," added Klopp.

"He had so many good games. Yes, I think he will not like the Tottenham game when I took him off in the first half, but it is part of football and part of development - and he always came back."

Another Liverpool player, Divock Origi, headed off for his summer holiday ready to allow the memories of a "beautiful" Premier League season to sink in.

Origi scored for the first time since the derby victory over Everton in December to help end a glorious campaign with a 3-1 win at Newcastle which left the Reds with a club record 99 points to go with a first title in 30 years.

Origi told the club's official website: "It's beautiful. I think it's something that, with time, we will be able to enjoy more and more.

"It has been a very special season and things like this are so big that it needs time to digest. We celebrated it well. Now, I think we can go on vacation with a perfect feeling."

Jurgen Klopp's men had to come from behind on Tyneside to ensure they went their separate ways with smiles on their faces after suffering a rare early setback.

There were only 24 seconds on the clock when Dwight Gayle stabbed the ball past keeper Alisson Becker after being played in by Jonjo Shelvey's quickly-taken free-kick, and they had to wait until seven minutes before the break for Virgil Van Dijk to erase the deficit.

However, Origi's second-half piledriver and a cultured finish from Sadio Mane, who, along with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, had been introduced as a 64th-minute substitute, completed the job.

Origi, who scored the winner in the corresponding fixture last season, said: "The start wasn't perfect but after that we made sure that the mentality was right, that we played our game and we said, 'patience' - just keep moving the ball, keep looking for the spaces.

"We played against a good team defensively with a lot of courage and who also came with a big heart."

For Magpies head coach Steve Bruce, the final whistle brought to an end a first season in charge of his home-town club, one which started with disquiet over his appointment and ended with no resolution to a takeover saga which has been in the Premier League's hands for almost four months.

Bruce said: "I've been determined to do one thing, to come and enjoy it.

"It would have been far easier for me to say, 'Oh no, I don't fancy that because that's too difficult a job, I might get a bit of stick there'.

"That didn't come into the equation. The equation was, I'm a Newcastle lad through and through and I want the club to do well. That's been the same since I was a kid, I always looked for Newcastle's result, so to be the manager of it, it's been a pleasure so far."