Liverpool made contact with former Arsenal defender Sokratis after he became a free agent earlier this month, but talks have not progressed beyond an initial sounding-out period.
The 32-year-old is instead close to securing a move to Olympiacos, sparking controversy in his native Greece, where he came through the ranks at bitter rivals AEK Athens.
Liverpool are in desperate need of defensive reinforcements as their season threatens to crumble around them. The long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez have had fans pleading for the recruitment of a new centre-back in the January transfer window, but Jurgen Klopp has maintained that finances restrict their ability to go out and sign one.
When the Gunners released Sokratis, then, many read it as the stars aligning. The experienced defender made 74 appearances under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, and his sudden availability on a free transfer meant a reunion could be on the cards.
Infrequent reports on the situation have fuelled the fire and there were claims that the Reds were interested even before he was let go by Arsenal, who he made his final appearance for back in March.
A new report from The Athletic says that, while their interest was briefly genuine, negotiations did not advance beyond preliminary talks. Presumably his contract demands would have been a factor in Liverpool deciding against pursuing a deal – he earned close to £100,000 per week at Arsenal, which seems steep for short-term cover.
He is expected to return to Greece to sign for Olympiacos in the days ahead – something that has sparked fury at former side AEK Athens due to the fierce rivalry between the two clubs.
As much as Liverpool could do with a new centre-back before the window closes, Sokratis’ history with Klopp is where his suitability starts and ends. Though available on a free, his salary, signing on bonus and agent fees would still have cost the club millions, and he does not fit their tactical system – he was frequently criticised for his lack of pace and poor record in aerial duels while at Arsenal.
He does not fit Liverpool’s signing policy either, representing the kind of short-termist transfer business the club have actively veered away from under Klopp and sporting director Michael Edwards.
Sokratis would have been considered if, like Thiago, he was an exceptional option, but it seems unlikely that an ageing defender who hasn’t played first-team football in nearly a year would be the difference between winning the title and not.
Instead, Liverpool are expected to press on with what they have available, and reconsider the situation in the summer once Van Dijk and Gomez are back in the picture.