Thiago showed Liverpool exactly what they’re missing from Naby Keita with his performance against Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Thiago was excellent against Everton. A look at his stats show just how good he was – the Spaniard ran the game and was the most influential player on the pitch.
Thiago had possession 99 times – this was by far the most in the game. Jordan Henderson was second with 79 but nowhere near his teammate. Thiago dominated the passing, too, completing 73 in the game – Henderson was again second, with 52.
And these aren’t Liverpool-only stats, they’re stats for the whole game. Thiago was just leagues above everyone when it came to getting on the ball.
Dribbling sees Thiago come out on top for the game as well (four), while he also made the most interceptions of anyone (two).
Subscribe to Rousing The Kop TV now
And for a player who had by far the most touches, Everton couldn’t get near him. The Toffees tackled him just once. By comparison, Lucas Digne was the only Everton player who didn’t get tackled.
So this was a confident, controlling display from Thiago and it showed what the Reds have missed from Naby Keita.
The Guinean started all four of the Premier League games before Saturday but disappointed. In fact, if we compare his stats to Thiago’s, you see why Liverpool signed the Spaniard.
Keita attempted a grand total of 148 in his four games this season. Thiago, in one start against Everton and 45 minutes against Chelsea, has attempted 161. We can put that into minutes, too, to show just how remarkable it is.
Keita has played 248 minutes and attempted 148 passes. Thiago has played 135 minutes and attempted 161.
In terms of ‘key passes’ (passes directly leading to shots), Keita has managed one in four games. Thiago has three. Both have managed four dribbles, two tackles and three interceptions in their respective minutes – and again, Thiago has played over nearly half as much.
It’s quite incredible how much more Liverpool get out of Thiago than they do Keita. The Spaniard is confident, imposing, and willing to do just about everything on the pitch.
You can’t say any of that about Keita. Thiago is almost certainly a Keita replacement, in truth, and on this evidence, that was the right move for Liverpool.