We shouldn’t be in the least bit surprised that Thiago Alcantara’s haul of trophies is incredibly impressive. Although, after a slow season at Liverpool that was interrupted by a lack of form and injury, it’s perhaps easy to forget how successful the Spaniard has been over the course of his illustrious career.
Indeed, 14 cups with Bayern Munich and eight trophies won in Spain with Barcelona, as well as two Champions League titles illustrate just how productive the 30-year-old has been for more than a decade. But the last year at Liverpool has presented challenges that the midfielder hasn’t ever had to deal with in his distinguished career.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) July 16, 2021
Looking back, being sidelined for over two months with a troublesome knee injury towards the back end of 2020 scuppered any rhythm that Thiago was hoping to find after signing and instead, a return in the new year proved to be anything but fruitful. The usual zip that the Spaniard historically had when in possession wasn’t there and Liverpool’s play seemed to slow down when he was on the ball. It was all quite lethargic and it wasn’t any coincidence that the Reds lost the chance to defend the title over the end of January and the whole of February.
It was easy to see how much pressure Thiago felt in midfield whilst Liverpool’s season ground to a halt as the player tried million-dollar dinks and hopeful switch up stingers across the field of play that would crash into the advertising hoarding; no matter how hard he tried, nothing was coming off.
Though Liverpool’s form dramatically picked up at the end of the season and ensured that Klopp’s men qualified for the Champions League, Thiago’s role was not an insignificant one during this upturn. Indeed it did begin to click for the Spaniard but the intense strain was off in some ways.
Ultimately, Liverpool needs a version of Thiago that will shine whilst the extraordinary pressure of trying to win the Premier League is on. Naturally, it will take a herculean effort from the club as a whole, and the odds back that up. Indeed, punters just need to look at the latest pricing in the football betting on Space Casino to realise just how tough it will be with the Reds at 5/1 to do so. As mentioned, Liverpool and Thiago will need to be at their very best all season.
Worryingly, however, anyone watching Spain’s exit to Italy in the semi-final of the Euros would have seen Luis Enrique bring Thiago on in extra time to help his dominant side finish a wilting Italian team off. Only, the 30-year-old’s introduction saw the wind completely go out of Spain’s sails after putting in a performance that was much the same as what Liverpool fans had seen during the turn of the year.
“The idea of Thiago coming to Liverpool could be a big moment.” 👀
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) September 1, 2020
It was a case of mishit pass after mishit pass at a time when Spain needed a cool head and a simple through ball to send a cynical, and ultimately aging, Italian team crashing out of the Euros. An exasperated Enrique could only watch on after his plan backfired and Spain let Roberto Mancini’s men off the hook.
Why is this important? Well, Thiago’s semi-final performance is certainly not pointed out to invite a hog-pile onto him but rather to suggest that when the pressure was turned up once more, he was found wanting again.
If the Reds are to turn English football on its head and wrestle back the Premier League title from a seemingly unstoppable Man City side, they will need Thiago to withstand the pressure that is incoming. Simply put, the 30-year-old is too integral a part of Liverpool’s title plans to go missing, if he does, it could be all over before Christmas.