Thiago Alcântara is more than just a footballer, he is a magician when it comes to threading passes forward in behind those defenders. Hailing from Spain, he certainly does possess a touch or two hint of Xavi and Iniesta- the two of the Barcelona legends he has played with.
Prior to the move to Anfield, Thiago was a driver in Bayern’s midfield. The little wonder man created passes, beyond the belief of us mortals. He made his way into Pep’s scheme of things at Bayern like he did it at Barcelona before that. And fitting into Guardiola’s squad is no easy task, if one does, they know that they might have reached a certain high in their career that the Spanish coach is acknowledging.
Thiago kept producing at his best in the Bavarian colours. And to be fair, he was one of the key figures in Bayern’s 2020 UCL title charge. I mean if he wouldn’t have, then I do not think we would have been watching him as one of the Reds, as Klopp got eager to buy the wonder man later in the same year.
Early Days at Anfield
The Spanish midfielder’s move to Anfield was made official in September 2020. Although Thiago was still referred to as a player who can dictate a game with his passing abilities, many feared that the player is not fit for Klopp and the Reds’ system of play.
It is true that when Thiago joined Liverpool, he came leaving a Bayern side that thrived upon those key passes and incisions. Likewise, seen under Pep Guardiola’s reign. But as for Liverpool and Klopp, well it is simply hardcore gegenpressing football, one that requires you to be on your toes throughout the span of 90 mins and plus the additional extra minutes, if added.
The problem, pointed out by many Pundits was that Thiago was not known for running up and down the field, or it is safe to say that up until that point no one saw Thiago doing it because it was not what was required of him.
😫 “Thiago slows things down & doesn’t play the way Liverpool play.”
👍 “They had midfielders less skilful but who played the ball quickly.”
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 19, 2021
However Thiago made his way into the squad, but the start at his new club did not go as planned. In his very first game in the Liverpool colours, against Everton, he was horrendously tackled by Richarlison right on the knee. The Brazilian got sent off for the tackle, but it was surely a big blow for Liverpool & Klopp. It kept the Spanish out for 3 months, and even after his return he was not put into the squad straight away.
Most of Thiago’s time was spent off the team sheet due to injuries, illness and COVID. Yet, he was one of the main men to help Liverpool gain the top 4 finish in his debut season.
No Kopite will forget the last season. Injuries, miseries, troubles, and in the end jeopardising the top 4 finish. It was one of the worst seasons under Jurgen Klopp’s reign, that is for sure. And likewise Thiago, too, felt the same. Although, he spent most of the games out due to some problem, but he really changed the whole complexion of Liverpool’s season.
Jurgen Klopp on Thiago:
🗣 “It is really good to have him around now.
“He is a really good guy and an exceptional football player. It is like a new signing.” pic.twitter.com/4d3NlET5dj
— GOAL (@goal) January 16, 2021
The Spanish midfielder started the last 10 league games of the 2020/21 Premier League season and helped Klopp’s Liverpool achieve a Champions League spot for this season. The feat that was once looking unachievable, back during the Christmas period.
Although it is true the whole squad came together during that period of time, but as for Thiago, it was one of the best moments because of how his new journey at Anfield started.
Thiago has exceeded all limitations this season as a Red
Everyone is in awe of how well Thiago has adjusted to the new environment. While it has not been all merry, but whenever called upon Thiago has given his best to the team this season.
It is not fair to the Spaniard’s abilities and skills, that he has been so injury-prone over the last year or so. Even this season around, he has had a fair amount of injuries and illness to go by. First the calf injury, then getting tested positive for COVID, and the latest Hip injury, all trying to hinder Thiago’s rise. But none of it is able to hinder him, he is unstoppable this season.
Despite all of this and so many missed games, Thiago has still racked up a total of 31 games across all competitions this season. Not just that he has contributed 5 goals as well- 2 goals and 3 assists. Everyone who knows Thiago’s style, knows that he is not quite often seen racking up goals and/or assists. Rather, he is behind all the plays and movements preceding the goals and assists.
Thiago’s game by numbers vs. Man Utd:
100% take-ons completed
100% long ball accuracy
96% pass accuracy
105 passes completed
9 duels contested
7 duels won
4x possession won
3 chances created
Outstanding. 👏 pic.twitter.com/ghKyyHnFJ4
— Squawka (@Squawka) April 19, 2022
One of the recent spectacles of it was his performance against Manchester United at Anfield. Liverpool came out victorious, 4-0, in what was the second meeting between the two sides both going largely in the favour of the Merseysiders. But it was Thiago, who caught the eye with his brilliant footwork and masterful performance.
Peter Drury :”Thiago has done things in this first half for which most people would wanna use joystick”
— ‘Khoded🦂. (@_Khoded) April 19, 2022
As the end of the season nears, the hope for a quadruple keeps on increasing for the Kopites. And as for Thiago, well if he could help Klopp’s side achieve the unprecedented feet, then he will get the well-earned plaudits and acclamations.