Thiago Alcantara: 60 Liverpool matches missed through injury and counting, an exciting transfer that has fallen flat

Liverpool agreed on a transfer for Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara in September 2020 for £20 million. The addition of Thiago came just months after Liverpool ended a 30-year wait for the Premier League title.  

Thiago’s arrival created excitement among most fans. He was a multi-time Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich and helped the club win the Champions League just months before signing with Liverpool.

Just how Thiago would fit into Liverpool’s side did create questions. It was hoped from the start that Thiago would provide the cutting edge that Liverpool sometimes lacked from midfield areas. His incisive passes would catalyse goals and a fight for a second consecutive Premier League trophy.   

Three seasons have now passed since Thiago’s arrival. He has provided the incisive passing fans expected from him at times, but there is still much to be desired from the Spaniard. Thiago has spent much of his Liverpool career on the sidelines watching matches rather than playing them. Injuries have been a common theme of his time at Anfield.   

According to Transfermarkt, Thiago has missed 60 matches since joining the Reds. Meanwhile, he has made 97 appearances in all competitions. Thiago’s body has struggled to stand up to the rigours of the combination of the Premier League, Champions League, and domestic cups, leaving Jurgen Klopp with one fewer midfielder to choose from.   

Thiago only appeared in 28 matches in all competitions this season, with 18 coming in the Premier League. The midfielder tallied zero goals and just one assist across his 28 appearances. Never a reliable goalscorer, Thiago has scored just three times in three seasons at Liverpool. His incisive passing has led to just six assists. However, Thiago’s deep-lying playmaking is part of the buildup play rather than being the final pass that creates goals.   

There is no doubt that Thiago is a fantastic passer and leader. But Thiago has been injured for nearly the same amount of time he has been available. Now 32, Thiago’s body isn’t getting any younger. He has just one season left on a four-year contract. Liverpool have a big decision to make this offseason. Do they try to sell Thiago or do they give him one more campaign?

Last summer, Liverpool had the same question surrounding Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. While there was a cry to sell the duo, no clubs were interested in signing either for the amount of money it would have cost. The risk wasn’t worth the reward for other clubs.  

Selling Thiago won’t be easy. The market for Thiago isn’t strong. Teams outside the Premier League do not have the money to sign players on large contracts. According to Spotrac, Thiago earns £10.4m per season. It is a large chunk of change, especially with Liverpool looking to rebuild the team in the offseason. Reports from Argentina already claim Liverpool have signed Alexis Mac Allister for £60m. If true, it is just one of the potential moves Liverpool will make this offseason to rebuild Jurgen Klopp’s team.  

Thiago missed the final six games of the Premier League season with a hamstring injury. His injury problems have allowed Curtis Jones to receive playing time. Jones has excelled in Thiago’s absence, helping the Reds go unbeaten in 10 straight matches ahead of the final fixture of the campaign.   

Liverpool have an assortment of promising midfielders available for next season. Along with Thiago, there is Fabinho, Jones, Jordan Henderson, Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho, Stefan Bajcetic, and possibly Mac Allister. Thiago’s injury problems may only continue next season. Reducing his role could be the only way to keep him fit for an entire campaign. Depending on the club’s summer transfer purchases, the midfield could be completely overhauled.


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