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How Salah and Lovren's bromance blossomed as they are split up at Liverpool

  /  autty

'I miss you a lot, I love you so much - thank you for everything you did for me'.

Those were the emotional words of Mohamed Salah after watching his team-mate and close friend Dejan Lovren depart Liverpool for Zenit Saint-Petersburg on Monday.

The Croatian's move to Russia tragically ended the pair's three-year bromance that has developed and grown since Salah completed his move from Roma in the summer of 2017.

Salah once joked they had only become friends 'by mistake' but from lunches in Marbella to becoming regular coffee buddies, the pair have been by each other's side during the journey to becoming Champions League and Premier League winners.

'From day one, we felt this connection,' Lovren gushingly revealed about Salah back in 2018.

'We have been talking a lot, we were talking about private things and we have a similar background, a tough life from the beginning.

'It wasn't easy to grow up where he was in Egypt without anything, and I had a similar thing in Croatia with the war and going back to Germany.

'And then with his normality, how he can talk to you and when you see how he thinks... we are good friends, coffee, jokes!'.

Lovren has been on the periphery of Liverpool's squad for large parts of the previous two seasons, falling down the pecking order due to the sublime form of Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.

The Reds decided it was finally time to cash in on the Croatian and he completed an £11million move to the Russian side earlier this week.

Nobody knows how Lovren's absence will impact Salah's form next season but it promises to be an emotional few months as he gets to grips with the departure of his best friend.

There have been so many examples of the bond the pair share. In January we got an insight into their WhatsApp conversations after Salah scored a late goal against Manchester United and celebrated by taking his shirt off.

The texts showed Lovren congratulate his team-mate by writing 'Bravo brate.' Salah replied by sending him a photo of his toned torso during celebrations after the goal and adding 'thank you'.

Confused by the random picture, Lovren joked: 'What do you want to say?', as Salah replied: 'No nothing, I sent it by mistake.' The defender sent two laughing emojis and shared the conversation on Instagram.

In the caption for the post, Lovren said: 'What the writer wanted to say? That he is strong? Body fat? Muscles? Goal? Never mind, it was only a "mistake".'

It was not the first time Lovren poked fun at Salah's body confidence either, as a similar exchange between the pair on WhatsApp in September last year saw the Egyptian send another photo of his chiseled chest. He wrote: 'Ohhh sorry by mistake.'

Lovren wrote back: 'That's the one when you stop breathing and squeeze your muscles, so you knew 100% that the photographer is outside. Shame on you... it was 16 degrees outside.'

It was not the first exchange the pair had posted on social media, either.

Salah wished his team-mate a happy new year back in January, but revealed he only did so after forgetting what time training was.

Lovren went on to share the exchange with his followers, adding the caption: 'Do you have friend like this?'

One of the most heart-warming memories of the pair's friendship was Lovren's desperate pleas for Salah to sit next to him on their flight to Madrid for the Champions League final in 2019.

Lovren shouted 'Mo' a few times on the plane in order to get his attention and to show him that two seats were available for them to sit next to each other.

It did, briefly, seem as though the bromance might be on the rocks after a table tennis match got particularly heated back in January.

The duo have been known for their fierce ping pong encounters in recent years and it finally came to a head with a decider at Melwood.

It was Lovren who prevailed in three sets on that occasion but there was no shortage of drama, bickering and rule bending as the pair battled to come out on top.

Unfortunately, however, there will be no more table tennis matches, trips together and plane seats to battle for now as the pair go their separate ways.

Speaking on Monday, Salah perfectly put the final touches to their love affair: 'I don't know how to say my friend, you don't know my feeling right now but we're really gonna miss you a lot, especially me.

'You've been an unbelievable player and great friend for me.

'We're gonna miss you a lot, I miss you a lot, I love you so much.'