The Spaniard’s Swansong
The most unsurprising news of the day was not that the Saudi Pro League is willing to pay £200m for Mohamed Salah, but that our Spanish maestro, Thiago Alcântara, is once again injured.
Thiago Alcántara’s last start for Liverpool was the 4th of February.
Klopp just confirmed he’s had another setback in his recovery, we cannot count on Thiago at all, selling him to a Saudi club would not have been a bad idea. Walks away for free in the summer after spending…
— Anything Liverpool (@AnythingLFC_) September 1, 2023
It seems like the last year has been a continuing effort to get the world class midfielder fit, in the knowledge that such a moment would only ever be fleeting. With Liverpool having signed Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endō, and Ryan Gravenberch, it shows that the need for such recruitment was never undertaken purely due to those that have departed, but also as cover for the injury prone former Barcelona man. After a sensational £25m deal back in 2020, it was a surprise move for a controlling entity that had a history of missing games through continuing seasons. The extraordinary talent outweighed logic, with Jürgen Klopp seemingly overruling our former Sporting Director, Michael Edwards, in demanding we being in the Bayern Munich player. The early stages of Klopp’s Anfield tenure saw specific types targeted (of a certain age range), in order to undertake a gegenpressing empire which would win every piece of major silverware on offer; therefore, it was always going to be a gamble when signing this type of footballer.
Why Was Thiago Deemed a Necessary Signing…?
Despite the obvious brilliance of the Brazilian born Spanish international, this seemed a step in trying to overcome the frustrating low block. As opposition teams became increasingly unwilling to go toe-to-toe with a dominating Liverpool side, every club not named Manchester City would commonly give up possession, in the hope of simply surviving the contest. This was a time when every world class red was in his absolute prime. Alisson Becker had at that point confirmed his standing as the world’s greatest stopper, behind the best central defender on the planet, Virgil van Dijk. Despite the question marks of Trent Alexander Arnold’s defensive prowess, there was no denying the creation for his team. The holding midfield position was being controlled by the ferocious Fabinho, whilst the famous three-pronged attack of Liverpool was the most lethal front line in the entirety of football. The need to make smart moves and challenge the sports washing Etihad machine, meant that an elite level playmaker was needed to overcome those stubborn low blocks, which saw a raid on Bayern Munich for their genius, Thiago Alcântara.
Liverpool's midfield depth! 🔥
🇭🇺 Dominik Szoboszlai
🇦🇷 Alexis Mac Allister
🇪🇸 Thiago Alcantara
🏴 Harvey Elliott
🇯🇵 Wataru Endo
🇳🇱 Ryan Gravenberch
🇪🇸 Stefan Bajcetic
🏴 Curtis Jones
Happy with that Reds? 🤔
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) August 31, 2023
What Is the Role for Thiago in His Final Year…?
It would have been easy to move our number six onto the Saudi Pro League this summer, with so much interest in the 46-cap Spain international. I believe if either one of Jordan Henderson or Fabinho had been retained, then Jörg Schmadtke would have been tasked with extracting a large fee from one of the star hungry middle eastern teams. A decision was clearly made to retain the four-time La Liga winner, as James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keïta, and Roberto Firmino, all left the club upon expiration of their contracts. A sense of leadership, experience, quality, and continuity, was required during so much change. I foresee certain games (when the two-time Champions League winner is available) to need the otherworldly control that the serial winner possesses. Some of the greatest Premier League midfield performances (at Anfield) are held by the legendary player, therefore, to accept losing him for free next summer was deemed an acceptable scenario. With an ability to play in either a two- or three-man midfield, it will be a blessing to see the trusted Klopp lieutenant enter the fray within such a transitional season and when most required. Rotation is a word that should not ever be attributed to Thiago, whereas occasional selection of brilliance is far more fitting.
This is the last season of the world class talent as a red, I just hope we get to see him as much as his fragile physicality allows.
Thiago Alcântara vs. Man United
95% Pass accuracy (105/110)
6/6 Accurate long passes
3 Chances created
3/3 Dribbles completed
7/9 Duels won
3/4 Tackles won
We're witnessing greatness. pic.twitter.com/L6OdlDynCp
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) April 19, 2022