Liverpool must maintain their patience with Thiago. Poor results risk shaking their belief but it’ll pay off in the long run.
There’s no two ways about it: Liverpool’s last two results have been very, very poor. First, there was the 1-1 at home against West Brom.
At the time of writing, Arsenal just thumped the Baggies 4-0 away from home. That comes off the back of Leeds United beating them 5-0 away from home.
How on earth did Liverpool fail to win, then?
The Reds followed up that result with a 0-0 draw at Newcastle United. Again, that’s a poor result as the Magpie’s struggled to keep clean-sheets at home.
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It all means that Manchester United currently sit level on point with Liverpool. Things don’t look as rosy as they did a few weeks ago.
The one plus-point from the Newcastle draw was Thiago, though. He came on in the second half for his first appearance since October 17th.
He looked great, too, for a player with just 135 minutes since September.
And all of this only ups the desire to play Thiago regularly. He looks great, he’s world-class and Liverpool are struggling.
But the Reds must maintain their patience with Thiago.
Thiago, quite clearly, had a serious injury. It kept him out for over two months, after all.
In some way, Virgil van Dijk’s injury in the same game lightened the look of Thiago’s. We expected him back sooner as he didn’t have a serious injury. Not like Van Dijk’s.
In reality, it was a bad one. We’re perhaps fortunate he’s back so soon, in fact.
On top of that, Thiago can’t possibly have a good level of match fitness. 152 minutes by January won’t bring you up to speed with everyone else.
Serious injury + lack of minutes is a poor recipe for success. Liverpool will need to slowly bring Thiago back into the fold to gradually build up that fitness and assure no further injury complications.
But we should probably prepare for the latter.
This won’t be a simple road but that doesn’t mean the end of the world. Liverpool can still get the best out of Thiago at the right time.
We wrote recently how Liverpool should have the game against Manchester United on the 17th as Thiago’s proper ‘return’. Assure he’s near his best for that one.
Give him a break afterwards, if need be, but this should be the template. Thiago needs to play the biggest games which, hopefully, will come at the end of the season in the trophy hunt.
The true disaster, then, isn’t Thiago getting a niggle and missing the Southampton game tomorrow. It’s the £20m man missing a potential Champions League quarter-final because the Reds rushed him back.
Until then, find other solutions to the current poor form. The Thiago plan can’t change.