Four Disappointing Players from the Jurgen Klopp Era

Jürgen Klopp has been responsible for bringing some true legends to Anfield- but what about some moves that didn't work out quite as well?
West Ham United v Liverpool FC - Premier League
West Ham United v Liverpool FC - Premier League / Vince Mignott/MB Media/GettyImages

Liverpool's most recent era of success has been characterized in part by the emergence of unlikely heroes.

Divock Origi's hyper-clutch antics, James Milner's do-it-all versatility, and even perhaps the defining player of the Klopp years, Mohamed Salah, was a relatively unproven entity who had flopped hard in his first Premier League stint.

However, not everyone who has pulled on a red shirt over the past near-decade has outperformed expectations.

Some have been more or less exactly what they were supposed to be, while others have come up short. Let's take a look at a few players who unfortunately failed to reach the heights they were expected, or at least hoped, to attain with Klopp's Liverpool.

Darwin Núñez

Right off the bat, let's get into semantics- this isn't titled as a "greatest flops" article, it's the most disappointing players, and while Darwin has been a decent contributor, it's hard to find a Liverpool fan who hasn't been frequently disappointed with the chaotic Uruguayan's performances.

Furthermore, while the steep transfer fee Liverpool paid for his services wasn't exactly his fault, it certainly doesn't help to temper expectations.

Darwin has quite possibly the most raw ability of any Liverpool striker since- and maybe even including- Luis Suárez, but unlike his legendary countryman, he's done just a horrendous job of channeling that talent into goals, assists, and generally positive contributions.

His chance conversion rate is abysmal, the likes of which has basically never been seen in all of Europe in the modern era, and has cost Liverpool on genuinely countless occasions.

His confidence at the club seems to be shot, and if Michael Edwards can salvage a halfway-significant transfer fee for him this summer, it's probably right for both sides to move on.

If his tenure at Anfield is over, it will be seen as a disappointment not because it was entirely a negative, but because we saw his unique ability and the clear promise of more than he ever was able to give.

Thiago Alcântara

Thiago has been injured so often of late that another real issue with his time at Liverpool has become overshadowed; when he did play, he wasn't anywhere near the player he was with Bayern Munich.

Yes, there were some incredibly high-skill plays made, but his focus seemed to be much more on hunting for highlights than it was on playing fundamentally sound football within Klopp's system.

Liverpool's recent midfield rebuild wasn't necessary despite Thiago's presence; it was necessary because of his inability to live up to expectations.

Until the last couple of seasons, his availability really was never too much of an issue compared to others on the team, but there's a much uglier truth that many fans have seemed to have a hard time admitting; even when healthy, he never came close to displaying the world-class standard Liverpool hoped he would bring to the club.

Naby Keïta

It's not like Naby never made any contributions for Klopp's Reds, but after over £50 million spent and generally high expectations, there was always a feeling that he could have done more.

He was quickly handed Steven Gerrard's #8 jersey, yet was never that kind of engine for Liverpool, although he provided a solid handful of moments in which his class really shone through.

As is the case with plenty of "failed" transfers, Naby simply couldn't stay on the field. He only played 10 league matches in the challenging 2020-21 season, a campaign in which midfield help was desperately needed, and was once again absent due to injury very frequently en route to Liverpool's disappointing results in 2022-23.

Arthur Melo

This one's simple- even though he came at a relatively low price, literally no amount is worth a player who never touched the pitch in the Premier League.

Nobody expected Arthur to step in and be the second coming of Gerrard, but he was an exciting loan-in at a time when Liverpool was desperate for help in the midfield.

Of course, Arthur never provided the spark many hoped he would, not for any reason tied to his ability as a footballer, but rather because due to fitness issues, he never played even a second of Premier League football for Liverpool, and chipped in less than 20 minutes in the Champions League.

It wasn't the most damaging move for the club financially, but the fact of the matter is that after making the Arthur move, Liverpool's management considered the search for a stopgap midfielder over.

Had he never come to the club, there's a chance that a much more productive player could've been secured, but it's hard to really know what may have been.