Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has expressed his belief that Mario Gotze is still "an exceptional player", while wishing the exit-bound Borussia Dortmund star luck at his next club.
Gotze emerged as one of Europe's most exciting young talents under Klopp's stewardship at Dortmund between 2009 and 2013.
The World Cup winner helped BVB win five major trophies, including two Bundesliga titles, before joining up with their arch-rivals Bayern Munich.
Unfortunately, he was never quite able to live up to expectations at the Allianz Arena, and made his way back to Westfalenstadion in 2016.
Gotze's second spell at Dortmund has been disrupted by a metabolic illness, which has restricted the midfielder's playing time and overall contribution to the team.
The 28-year-old will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, and is expected to undertake a new challenge away from Germany.
Liverpool have been strongly linked with Gotze in recent weeks, but Klopp says his former charge needs to join a club that can guarantee him regular minutes.
The Reds head coach told Sky Deutschland: "Everyone in the business knew that his contract was expiring.
"If things have not been settled a year in advance, there are some indications that it is coming to an end.
"Mario will probably need a few games in a row. He needs a club that gives him the feeling that he doesn't have to change the world in every game.
“Instead, Gotze has to just play normally and then play again and play again. Then I think we'll see the old Mario Gotze again.
“That is obviously not possible in Dortmund at the moment with the quality that they have in the offensive area.
“It makes total sense that Mario leaves the club. I couldn't wish him more luck, to be honest.
“I think he is an exceptional player and also an exceptional character. I like him very much and wish him all the best."
Gotze has not featured for Dortmund since their 1-0 defeat to Bayern on May 26, missing subsequent wins over Paderborn and Hertha Berlin.
He will, however, be back in contention for a place in Lucien Favre's squad when BVB take in a trip to Fortuna Dusseldorf on Saturday.