Premier League • England

Klopp at loggerheads with Liverpool chiefs on next big deal that has two glaring drawbacks

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

A disagreement over whether a senior Liverpool star should be handed a risky new contract has erupted between Jurgen Klopp and Anfield chiefs, according to a report.

Liverpool embarked on a sweeping midfield rebuild over the summer that many believed was long overdue. Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all left as free agents. When inundated with tempting offers from Saudi Arabia, the Reds did not think twice before selling Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

Replacing the quintet were Wataru Endo, Ryan Gravenberch, Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai. The vast bulk of Klopp’s midfield selections this season have come from his new quartet.

One holdover player who’ll fancy his chances of breaking back into the first eleven is Thiago Alcantara.

The classy Spaniard, 32, has been sidelined since April after undergoing hip surgery. Thiago suffered a setback in August that further delayed his return to match fitness.

Thiago rarely lets the Reds down when on the field and despite his age is among Liverpool’s most effective pressers of the ball.

Klopp’s quotes on his midfielder over the summer certainly suggest he still values Thiago extremely highly.

“You don’t have five million players like this on the planet – only a few who see things earlier than anyone else and have the technical ability to not only see it but get the ball there as well,” said the Reds boss.

“He is a world-class player. He can be pretty dangerous with and without the ball so, from our point of view, there is really nothing to moan about.

“[His] football is outstanding, but his counter-pressing was mad. That makes the full package. I couldn’t respect it more.”

However, Thiago’s current contract expires at season’s end and debate over whether he warrants an extension is reportedly swirling behind the scenes at Anfield.

Klopp v Liverpool over Thiago

According to 90min, Jurgen Klopp wants Thiago tied down to a new deal. However, it’s claimed he’s meeting resistance from Anfield officials who do not believe Thiago has produced a ‘worthwhile return on what has been a substantial outlay.’

Liverpool paid a relatively modest £27m when plucking Thiago from Bayern Munich back in 2020. However, the Spaniard is among the club’s top earners and his high salary is seemingly a bitter pill to swallow given he’s rarely available for selection.

The two key issues concerning Liverpool chiefs will no doubt be Thiago’s age (32) as well as his troubling injury record.

Liverpool recently waved goodbye to two players in similar circumstances to Thiago (Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita) and already look better off for it.

Nonetheless, Klopp still hopes a new deal can be thrashed out and talks on that front are due to take place before the January window opens. If it becomes apparent a new deal is not on the table, a January sale could then be explored.

Thiago had strong interest from Saudi Arabian sides over the summer. 90min conclude the interest is likely to be there again if Liverpool greenlight a sale.

PREM PREDICTIONS: Tottenham, Liverpool play out classic; Man Utd cruise; more Chelsea woe; Everton in goals again