Even before he brought success on the field to Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp’s empathetic and human approach to management endeared him to many Reds fans.
The German has cultivated a much-praised atmosphere at Anfield, which has come from understanding players’ needs and bringing strong personalities to the club.
This approach will often see Klopp put players’ desires above what is best for the club, such as allowing certain players to leave for more football.
One of Klopp’s biggest strengths has been the fact his first-choice starting XI is set in stone, creating a well-oiled machine where every player knows their role.
Yet this also makes it harder for some players to break into the side, meaning they become keen to seek regular football elsewhere.
That has arguably come back to haunt the Reds this season, with a series of injuries leaving Klopp having to mend and make do in some areas of the pitch.
With that in mind, here are four players who the Reds may well regret allowing to leave.
Some eyebrows were raised when the highly-rated defender left Liverpool for Wolves in the summer.
Signed for around £90,000 from Ajax in 2018, the young versatile defender, who can play at both right-back and centre-back, made his debut in January 2019, going on to play three times in cup competitions last season, including scoring against MK Dons.
Yet he failed to make a Premier League appearance, and instead moved to Wolves in the summer in search of more football.
Some promising performances since the turn of the year has helped the 19-year-old cement his place in Wolves’ first-team squad.
With Klopp facing a defensive injury crisis this season, there is a sense that Hoever may have been handed chances to impress at Anfield had he stayed – but the Dutch youth international is not looking back.
“It wasn’t an easy choice, but it wasn’t that hard either,” Hoever told Goal recently. “I knew my playing time would be more than at Liverpool, that’s why I made the decision. I thought it was the best thing for my career in the moment.
“Now of course with the injuries at Liverpool, you don’t know, but I don’t think like that. I just thought like, if everyone was fit, how much game time would I have? Liverpool have such a great team still, maybe the best back four in the world, so it was really hard for me to break through there.”
Lovren spent six years at Liverpool and, at the age of 31, may not necessarily be considered ‘one that got away’.
Yet his experience would have served the Reds well this season amid their plethora of injuries at the back.
Lovren departed in the summer for Zenit Saint Petersburg, admitting he had been left frustrated by making just 15 appearances last season after suffering injuries and dropping down the pecking order at Anfield.
Klopp described Lovren as a Liverpool legend upon his departure and, speaking in January, the centre-back hinted that the Reds boss admitted he had made a mistake by letting him go.
“I don’t regret,” he said. “My decision in the summer was firm – to leave Liverpool, and I don’t look back.
“I got upset last season when I didn’t play but now everything is different.
“I think Liverpool miss me more than I miss them and Jurgen Klopp knows this because we communicate.
“He wrote recently ‘we miss you’. I spoke with Jurgen but I will not disclose details.”
Kent came through the youth system at Anfield and, after disappointing loan spells at Freiburg and Bristol City, he moved on loan to Rangers in 2018.
The winger was subsequently a revelation under Steven Gerrard at Ibrox, enjoying a breakout season in the Scottish Premiership that put him on the radar of a number of English clubs, including Aston Villa and Leeds United.
Whilst the Reds had a look at Kent’s development after he returned from Ibrox, he ultimately returned to Rangers on a permanent deal at the start of 2019/20.
Since then, he has gone from strength to strength, with the 24-year-old being tipped with a move back to the Premier League in the near future.
Kent has 11 goals and 13 assists in 46 appearances for the Gers this season as Gerrard led them to their first Premiership title in 10 years.
Whilst he would not necessarily be a starter for the Reds, Kent would have added useful squad depth for the Reds and taken the pressure off the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Klopp came in for criticism for playing a strong team in a Champions League dead rubber with FC Midtjylland, which saw Diogo Jota pick up an injury that kept him out of action for around three months, and the presence of players like Kent may have enabled the manager to rotate a bit more in matches like that.
Klopp paid an emotional tribute to Ings last season, revealing how much pleasure he had taken from seeing the former Reds forward regularly finding the net for Southampton.
The forward was initially sent on loan to the Saints in 2018/19 after an injury-hit career at Anfield, and he scored seven goals in 24 Premier League appearances.
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With Roberto Firmino having nailed down his place in Klopp’s first-choice attack, Ings was subsequently sold to the Saints on a permanent deal in 2019, and he has been a revelation at St Mary’s ever since, with Man City now said to be eyeing him up as a potential summer transfer.
At the time, the Reds’ decision to sell Ings made sense, as he did not really fit into Klopp’s system and the forward was keen on first-team football.
Yet, over 18 months on from then, Firmino is struggling for form and the Reds will reportedly be on the lookout for a striker in the summer – something that they may not necessarily have had to have done had they kept hold of Ings.