Thiago looks almost certain to miss Liverpool’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday. That makes Jurgen Klopp’s job much easier, however.
And that, on the face of it, is a real blow. Thiago is one of the world’s best midfield players, after all, and Liverpool will want him available.
In truth, however, it makes Jurgen Klopp’s job a lot simpler. And that’s not a bad thing.
Liverpool are never at their best against City when they’re trying to maintain possession. That, though, is Thiago’s game. He’s a playmaker, there to keep play ticking over and stop counter-attacks with his positioning.
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But Liverpool won’t dominate possession against City and probably won’t want to. When the Reds beat them 3-1 at Anfield last season, they had a minority of the ball – and that was at home.
Away from home, Liverpool won’t want to try and make it a game about who can keep the ball better. Instead, they’ll want to be physical, pragmatic, and rapid with their midfield.
That doesn’t call for Thiago, though. It calls for Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum and James Milner – a trio who will adapt to whatever the game throws at them and disrupt City through work-rate and energy.
That’s the key to getting the three points today. Liverpool will need to control the game without the ball and strike quickly when City try to move forward.
As good as Thiago is, that’s not what he excels at. Klopp will know exactly how his team needs to paly, then, and it’s in a way that arguably gives the best opportunity at a win.