Thiago’s Final Season
When Liverpool signed Thiago back in the summer of 2020, it felt like one of the most exciting additions they had made in the Premier League era.
Arriving as a newly-crowned Champions League winner with Bayern Munich, the Spaniard came in with a reputation for being among the most technically gifted midfielders of his generation, as well as a born winner.
Liverpool’s midfield had been renowned for its industry and selflessness in the title-winning season the year before, with Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum so vital to the Reds’ success, but Thiago was a sprinkling of magic on top that made Jurgen Klopp’s side even stronger.
The former Barcelona ace’s debut away to Chelsea whet the appetite for what was to come, as he dictated the game and sprayed passes, in all directions, and it was impossible not to get carried away.
The problem is, there was always a risk element when it came to Liverpool snapping up Thiago, due to his questionable injury record throughout his career.
Injury Plagued Spell at Liverpool
He had never made more than 26 league starts in a single season in his career at that point, and he was also 29, so it was a gamble, but one that was more than worth taking.
Three years on and those fears have largely come true, and it is hard for Liverpool fans to assess just how successful Thiago has been at Anfield.
When fit, there have been times when he has been a joy to watch, not to mention the best midfielder at the club – the masterclass he put on at home to Manchester United in 2022 was something special – but he has been sidelined far too frequently.
In total, Thiago has only managed 97 appearances in all competitions since arriving for Liverpool, and just 71 of those have been starts.
To put that into context, Mo Salah has played 165 times during the same period.
So often, what has been claimed to be a niggling injury problem by Klopp has resulted in a lengthy spell out of the team, with Thiago’s current hip issue preventing him from playing a single minute of action so far in this season.
It has been painfully frustrating to have a footballer of such immense talent in the squad, but have to make do with him countless times, and with his current deal expiring next summer, his time at Liverpool is surely coming to an end.
One Last Hurrah
The question is: can Thiago enjoy one last hurrah, enhancing his legacy instead of bowing out with a whimper?
Earlier this week, Pep Lijnders made it clear that the midfield maestro is still a long way from returning to the fold, so realistically, we shouldn’t be expecting to see him again this year.
If he could come back into the team for the business end of the season, however, he could be an invaluable player, at which point legs may be tiring with others, with new impetus needed from elsewhere.
Thiago isn’t the player he once was – he was arguably slightly past his absolute peak even when he joined Liverpool – but if the Reds are still in the Premier League title race, his winning edge and quality could be huge.
It feels like wishful thinking, sadly, because he never seems capable of staying fit for prolonged periods, but wouldn’t it be lovely to see Thiago ride off into the sunset after finishing his Anfield career in style, helping his side win the Premier League or the Europa League?
Ultimately, the next six months or so could define how we all remember him in the future.