In their 2007 banger “Someone Great”, indie pop band LCD Soundsystem crafted an ode to the passing of the lead singer’s therapist. It’s six and a half minutes of weird, melancholy danceable brilliance. Today, I listened to that song on repeat. The truth is, like James Murphy in 2007, I lost someone very dear today. After a glittering two-year career, Ragnar Klavan moved on from Liverpool, completing a $3.5 million move to Cagliari *breaks out map*, an Italian side.
Klavan has it all. Not many 32-year-old centerbacks out of Estonia possess his skill set. The stats speak for themselves: 52 appearances, 36 starts, and an earth-shattering two goals. Over the course of his 24 months on Merseyside, Klavan showed why he is among the better centerbacks in the world. He’s a natural goalscoring threat and a true poacher.
He’s a player made for the big moments, as he scored an astounding 50 percent of his Liverpool goals in stoppage time.
Klavan is also world class with the ball at his feet. Many fans have called him the Neymar of obscure European countries, and it’s easy to see why.
While he is a devastating finisher from inside the box, and an incredible dribbler, it would be remiss to ignore the Estonian Messi’s work at the dirty end. After all, he is a center back. While it is tough to confine his style into a few words, the phrase “complete defender” comes to mind. At 6 foot 1, he’s an aerial threat and an enforcer. Yet, he isn’t simply confined to the model of a big, bruising center back. The man can put in a tackle, a quality he showed during his tenure at Anfield. In short, he is someone that any keeper could feel comfortable with when the opponents have the ball inside the 18 yard box.
Klavan has no ego, and was always willing to sacrifice his superior ability for the good of the team. It takes a lot of patience, and admirable charity, to be the best centerback in the Premier League and willingly sit out 30 possible games despite no major injuries. He also proved to be selfless, starting a game at left back in the Merseyside Derby, making the position his own in a scoreless draw. As Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game:
“It was Ragnar’s first game as a leftback for 20 years maybe – and a brilliant performance!”
There’s no higher praise than that. Goodbye, sweet Ragnar, you shall be missed.