Liverpool’s 0-0 draw against Newcastle United was disappointing, to say the least. However, the long-awaited return of Thiago Alcantara has somewhat lifted the mood.
The Spanish sensation was back amongst the first-team for the first time since October 17 having finally recovered from a knee injury.
He was handed just under 20 minutes of competitive action by Jurgen Klopp, coming off the bench in the second half.
Despite his limited time on the pitch, Thiago showcased his quality. He was able to clock up more passes (23) than Mohamed Salah managed all game.
Klopp wanted to manage the former Bayern Munich maestro carefully. His involvement suggests he could be in contention to start against Southampton on Monday.
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Thiago was immense on the ball. Just minutes after taking the field he raked a stunning pass out to Trent Alexander-Arnold and our jaws dropped.
His return finally completes Liverpool’s midfield situation, too. It means Klopp no longer have any real reason to move Fabinho back into midfield.
Thiago can play that holding role, after all, although in an entirely different way. While nearly every midfield player is back from injury, leaving the only gaps in the defence.
So Liverpool now have numbers in midfield, as well a truly world-class option in Thiago. That is certainly enough cause to remain optimistic in 2021.
Liverpool’s final result of the year ensured Klopp and his team finish 2020 in top-spot, three points clear of Manchester United. Indeed, we would like to be further ahead, but given the circumstances, we can hardly complain.
A 0-0 draw was perhaps an underwhelming way to end what was frankly a ridiculous and chaotic year, to say the least.
Nevertheless, Liverpool’s players have reacted positively despite the minor slip-up and are looking forward to the challenge ahead.
Here is a look at how Thiago Alcantara, James Milner, Andy Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum reacted on social media after the Newcastle clash.
Liverpool have a few days of rest before another away trip, this time to Southampton on January 4.
Southampton oppose a serious threat, given their position in the league table. Liverpool will need to be at their best if they are to conjure up a response at St Mary’s next Monday.