Ragnar Klavan completed his £2 million to Cagliari on Friday, and was left with a host of fond farewell messages from his former team-mates at Liverpool.
The Estonian has departed Merseyside after two years in Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, and clearly made a mark despite playing a low-profile role at the club.
His performances as backup centre-back saw Klavan rise to cult status at Anfield, and his exit came with Klopp’s blessing as he sought regular first-team football at 32.
Klavan has revealed how Alisson, Lucas Leiva and Mohamed Salah were among those to recommend a move to Serie A, but he was certainly not forced out at Liverpool.
As the Reds took to Instagram to pay tribute on his departure, it is clear that he had a big impact on the dressing room in his short spell.
Dejan Lovren, who regularly partnered Klavan at the back prior to Virgil van Dijk‘s arrival in January, recalled his ‘stolen’ goal against Burnley on New Year’s Day—and his influence off the pitch:
“I wish you all the best in your new club. You will be missed in our dressing room,” the Croatian wrote, later adding: “And remember You’ll Never Walk Alone.”
For James Milner, Klavan’s departure is bittersweet, as he now takes over the mantle as the oldest player in the Liverpool squad:
Both Milner and Klavan serve to underline that youth is not imperative under Klopp, as two of the fittest players at the manager’s disposal—a testament to their professionalism.
Klavan’s experience was clearly instrumental in aiding the younger players in the Liverpool squad, too, with Jordan Henderson, Marko Grujic and Gini Wijnaldum among those to mark his exit:
“We shared beautiful moments and achievements, and it was a pleasure being your team-mate,” Wijnaldum wrote. “All the best with your new adventure.”
Klavan was similarly hailed by supporters and journalists, who described the veteran as a “top professional” who garnered “absolute admiration” from the coaching staff at Melwood:
With Ragnar Klavan completing his £2 million transfer to Cagliari from #LFC, it's worth revisiting this masterpiece on his masterpiece.
Turf Moor. New Year's Day. 94th minute winner. The first goal scored by an Estonian in the Premier League. Scenes. https://t.co/1j7nPzoXoj
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) August 17, 2018
#LFC confirm Ragnar Klavan has joined Cagliari. He’s been a good servant for the club and developed a cult-hero status during his two full seasons. The coaching staff were in absolute admiration at his professionalism.
— Glenn Price (@GlennPrice94) August 17, 2018
Shame to see Klavan go, but Klopp values his players as people and doesn't stand in their way if they'd rather move elsewhere. The CB situation can always be reassessed in January, if need be. The current options should be enough until then.
— Joel Rabinowitz (@joel_archie) August 17, 2018
Ragnar Klavan. Joined Liverpool with no expectations but absolutely bossed it. Gave it his all every single time he put on the shirt. Never forget that crucial goal against Burnley. Top professional and I wish him all the best at Cagliari.
— – (@AnfieldRd96) August 17, 2018
Ragnar Klavan has gone to Cagliari. He was not on the list of the greatest of centre-backs LFC have had, but he was better than Martin Skrtel.
— Chris Bascombe (@_ChrisBascombe) August 17, 2018
I want to thank Ragnar Klavan for his professionalism and total commitment to the shirt. When called upon, he delivered and he never disappointed with his level of determination and attitude. I wish him nothing but the best in the remainder of his career.
Thank you, Ragnar. ?
— Matt (@FalseFMatt) August 17, 2018
Liverpool former No. 17 could make his debut for Cagliari on Sunday, as they begin the new Serie A season away to Empoli.