Liverpool FC

‘My Father told me to join Man Utd but I was stupid to join Liverpool’ – it’s my fault I flopped but I still don’t know why they never gave me a chance

On this day in 2017, Tiago Ilori left Liverpool without making a Premier League appearance, marking the end of a disappointing stint for the promising center-back.

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The Reds had high hopes when signing him from Sporting Lisbon in 2013 for £7 million, alongside Mamadou Sakho, as Brendan Rodgers aimed to fortify the backline for the next decade.

However, Ilori’s Liverpool career never took off. Despite Rodgers praising his potential, the Portuguese defender failed to secure a regular spot, with loan spells at Granada, Bordeaux, and Aston Villa, where he struggled to make an impact. Even Jurgen Klopp, upon his arrival, admitted ignorance about Ilori’s status.

Ilori’s Liverpool career culminated in just three appearances, notably in an FA Cup match against Exeter City. Klopp, recognizing the potential, still didn’t consider him part of his plans.

In January 2018, Liverpool sold Ilori to Reading for £3.75 million, a fraction of the initial fee.

Ilori’s subsequent career path included returns to Portugal with Sporting and loan spells at Lorient and Boavista, but he faced setbacks due to injuries and lack of playing time.

He terminated his Sporting contract in 2023, becoming a free agent. After a brief stint at Belenenses in Liga Portugal 2, Ilori, now 30, strives to revive his career, reflecting on the unfulfilled promise of being a Liverpool center-back for the next decade, as once envisioned by Rodgers.

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