Dejan Lovren confesses he was no stranger to heated discussions with Jurgen Klopp throughout his time at Liverpool.
But the centre-back insists he left Anfield on good terms with the German manager after nearly five years working together.
Lovren joined Zenit Saint Petersburg for £11million last summer after helping Liverpool to the Premier League title in the 2019/20 season.
The Croatian also won the Champions League the previous campaign, but he gradually featured less frequently in Klopp’s starting XI towards the end of his time on Merseyside.
While Lovren admits his injury issues were a particular source of tension, he claims he had a “very good” conversation with the Liverpool boss as he departed last July.
“We had really fair communication,” said the 31-year-old. “Naturally he was the manager and I was the player who should deliver what he was saying, so sometimes we didn’t have talks in the best mood – especially when I had an injury and he wanted me.
“But we said goodbye to each other as friends. We said that whatever we needed, we could phone each other. It was a very good, open talk.
“Sometimes we still chat. Once he said that he was missing me in the team… but I didn’t reply!”
Lovren also recalled his nightmare at Wembley as Liverpool were thrashed 4-1 by Tottenham Hotspur in October 2017.
The defender endured a torrid afternoon up against Harry Kane – who scored twice – and was hauled off after 31 minutes having committed two major errors.
Lovren looks back on the defeat as a key turning point in his Liverpool career and, speaking in the latest edition of FourFourTwo magazine , said: “Let’s just say when Klopp took me off after half an hour against Spurs, when we were 2-1 down, I was shocked.
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“But that moment was decisive for me to change something in my mind and work even harder. From then, I was flying until the end of my stay at Liverpool.
“After that, of course, the trophies we won were big achievements. There’s always something that ignites a little fire and that’s when Liverpool’s started burning.
“Nobody else would see that, but I’m looking at it from my way. From that moment on – and even Klopp knows it – I started to play well.”
Lovren has kept up his silverware-winning streak since joining Zenit, winning the Russian Premier League in his first season with the club.
Having played a key role as Croatia knocked England out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-final stage, Lovren is set to clash with the Three Lions again later this month.
The two countries will face off at Wembley for their first group-stage game of Euro 2020 on Sunday 13 June.