Arsenal legend Ian Wright has argued that Liverpool are “not as potent” without Spain international Thiago as part of their midfield.
Liverpool got themselves a bargain ahead of the 2020/21 campaign as they only paid an initial £20m to sign Thiago from Bayern Munich.
The 31-year-old is rightly recognised as one of the most gifted midfielders in European football.
Dietmar Hamann seems to be on his own in doubting Thiago’s talents. Though he is prone to saying some stupid things.
West Ham star Declan Rice is a huge fan of Thiago, however. The 23-year-old has named the Liverpool man among his toughest midfield opponents:
“There’s so many (good midfielders) I can’t even describe or pick out one,” Rice said on the Tubes & Ange Golf Life YouTube channel.
“De Bruyne was just special, the way he thinks about the game, the position he picks up for a holding midfielder is horrible he just makes you think. Same with David Silva when he was in the Prem (sic), he was the exact same, couldn’t get near, technically one and two touch was just one step ahead of everyone.
“(Eden) Hazard when he was in the Premier League with Chelsea, I was only just starting then but he was so quick, so agile. Even when I played against Thiago at Liverpool, last season, he’s just so silky. He plays the game at his own pace, he was proper.”
Thiago was not fit enough to feature against Crystal Palace on Monday night. Without him, Liverpool were far from their best.
At 1-0 down, their situation was made worse when Darwin Nunez was sent off following his headbutt on Palace defender Joachim Andersen.
Luis Diaz’s sensational long-range strike ended up salvaging Liverpool a point. Speaking post-match, Wright explained why Thiago’s absence was key:
“Getting the ball through midfield, I think they’re struggling with that,” Wright told Premier League Productions (via Liverpool Echo).
“Harvey Elliott didn’t have any space to really move in. To try and move the ball into areas where they can commit players in the middle and force their way in.
“Everything of Liverpool has to go out wide. Without Thiago, we see when Thiago’s not playing they’re not as potent.
“And they need that midfielder to get the ball into areas where they commit players. That’s what they missed tonight.”