Liverpool is losing ace who would get in 'any team' but Jürgen Klopp knows it's the right call

Jürgen Klopp and Thiago Alcântara in conversation during a Liverpool training session.
Jürgen Klopp and Thiago Alcântara during a Liverpool training session. -Credit:Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

There will be changes at Liverpool this summer, but as Jürgen Klopp embarks on a lap of honor at Anfield after the final match of the season against Wolves, at least two others who won't get the same limelight will also be waving goodbye.

Thiago Alcântara and Joël Matip are both out of contract — as is 37-year-old goalkeeper Adrián — and the pair, both comfortably into their 30s, have barely played this season because of injury. Thiago, in particular, has been brutally ravaged by issue after issue during the period since he arrived from Bayern Munich.

"When Thiago is in the shape he’s in now, he would play for any team in the world and that is Spain as well," Klopp said in 2022 ahead of facing Villarreal in the Champions League semi-final. "They are an incredibly talented team but the shape he’s in, he’d play for every national team."

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The problem, though, is summed up nicely by what Klopp said next: "Thiago needs to be fit and gain rhythm and he can show his best form." That, unfortunately, has never truly happened for him in four years at Anfield.

Thiago has only played five minutes this season and he won't feature against either Aston Villa or Wolves. In four years at Liverpool, the 33-year-old will have missed 130 games through injury by the time his contract expires — an average of 32.5 per season.

It isn't his fault but Thiago has simply been unable to deal with the physical demands of playing in the Premier League. And clearly, then, it is the right decision for Liverpool to part ways with him.

When he is fully firing, the midfielder is one of the best in the world, but that is simply far too few and far between. He hasn't played a game at Anfield for more than a year.

Curtis Jones and Dominik Szoboszlai, among others, have some way to go to match what Thiago has achieved in the game, but both are far more durable and a decade younger. Liverpool, for that reason, is very much well set up for the future.

With Stefan Bajčetić returning and Alexis Mac Allister arguably having taken on the mantle of being the controller in the Liverpool midfield, it is hard to argue that Thiago will be missed too much. The Reds have essentially just had first-hand experience of what it will be like to be without him permanently.

Thiago was meant to be a transformer — a one-off given he was signed at the age of 29 — and was brought in as a real signal of the tactical shift that Liverpool was undergoing. This was a player who represented the move from more heavy metal to control and was viewed almost as the final piece of the puzzle that could further elevate an already very impressive squad.

One of Liverpool's highest earners, though, Thiago has not proven to be value for money and Liverpool cannot hand out new deals based on hope or highlights reels. Technically, he is among the most talented players ever to have played for the club. The problem has only ever been that he hasn't been able to prove that anywhere near often enough.