Jurgen Klopp has downplayed the idea that Thiago Alcantara will never play for Liverpool again, but has clarified the bad news about his latest injury.
Thiago only made his first appearance of the season for Liverpool on Sunday against Arsenal, but he has already suffered another physical setback.
At a press conference on Friday, though, Klopp has denied that Thiago’s 98th Liverpool appearance was his last.
“The situation with Thiago is obviously not cool,” Klopp explained.
“Everything looked fantastic in training but then it happened, it’s a muscle issues and we don’t know the extent yet.
“It’s not good news for him or the club, on top of losing the game.”
Pressed on if Thiago will be available again for Liverpool before his contract ends, Klopp answered: “Yes, but we really didn’t think about that in the moment, we just looked at the injury and got a full assessment done and knowing where it came from.
“It’s not intensity, stuff like this, they are different things.
“It’s not a big, big injury, definitely not, but it’s something nobody needed.”
Thiago’s chances of fighting for his future at Liverpool beyond the Klopp era have now been reduced, regardless of the severity of his injury.
Thiago tipped for MLS or Saudi move
And one former Liverpool player believes he is approaching not just the end of his time in the Premier League, but in European football altogether.
“He’s been average for them since he joined from Bayern Munich,” Stan Collymore told Caught Offside.
“I think he’s probably been a great addition to the dressing room with his experience, professionalism and leadership qualities, but just talking about his on-field contributions, I don’t think he’s really lived up to expectations.
“His contract expires at the end of the season and I think it’s a given that it won’t be extended.
“He’s 32 years old and with injuries clearly catching him up, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him drift off to either the MLS or Saudi’s Pro League in the summer.
“I certainly don’t think any top European club are going to make him an offer — I think this phase of his career is probably over with now.”
In his prime, Thiago was one of Europe’s best midfielders, enjoying spells with Barcelona and Bayern.
He hasn’t been world-class while at Liverpool, often frustrated by physical problems, but has sometimes shown his utility still.
Nevertheless, after the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Naby Keita vacated Liverpool’s midfield last summer, it looks like time is catching up with Thiago too ahead of a potential exit this year.