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Liverpool enter new Arne Slot era without player Man City boss Pep Guardiola loves

Liverpool's new head coach Arne Slot
-Credit: (Image: ANP via Getty Images)


When Liverpool announces its retained list at the end of every season it is always tinged with a little sadness.

While it is obvious that some exits are guaranteed, it gets no easier saying goodbye to players who through no fault of their own needed to leave the club. One man who fits that category perfectly is Thiago Alcantara.

The Spaniard arrived from Bayern Munich in 2020 but would make just 98 appearances for the club in the four years that followed. His playing time was particularly impacted during his final two seasons at Anfield when severe injuries kept him sidelined for much of the season.

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In 2023/24, Thiago played just five minutes due to a mixture of a hip and muscle injury. His departure on Wednesday's retained list came as no surprise.

It is easy to forget that when he arrived on Merseyside, the 33-year-old was given the backing of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Throughout his career, Thiago received glowing praise from the Catalan head coach.

Before kicking a ball for the Reds, Guardiola told the media: "I am happy that Thiago comes to England because England is going to enjoy a really good player. No doubt of this, a player who played for Barcelona and Bayern Munich can play in the Premier League. Yeah, of course, he can play."

During his time as manager of Bayern Munich, Guardiola gave the Bavarian club an ultimatum - 'Thiago or nothing.' "He was the only player I wanted [to join Bayern from Barcelona]," he later added.

"He has so much quality – above all his mentality. He always thinks everything is possible. He has no fear."

Now Thiago has left Anfield it will be intriguing to see where he ends up. His injury record in recent seasons could put a few sides off but it is a great shame for Liverpool and Arne Slot that they will not be able to utilise him to the extent Guardiola was able to do earlier in his career.

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