Thiago has the ideal opportunity to show everyone what he’s made of when Liverpool face RB Leipzig tonight. He’s faced scrutiny in recent weeks.
No one would argue that Thiago has been the perfect £20m signing everyone hoped for. But then, things haven’t gone his way.
A terrible tackle from Richarlison injured the Spaniard on his first start, quickly ruling him out for ten weeks. It’s hard to integrate in your new team when that happens.
And it becomes even harder when the team you return to is very different to the one you left. For instance, Fabinho was a midfielder when Thiago was hurt and a defender by the time he returned.
He’s barely got to play with Jordan Henderson in midfield, either. In fact, for some perspective, that Everton game is the only time Thiago has played with Diogo Jota.
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Then there’s the fixture list. Thiago has played just 11 times but he’s managed to play against every top 7 side that isn’t Liverpool. And that doesn’t include fixtures like Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur away. His schedule has been intense at a time when he’s learning the team.
Still, Thiago hasn’t quite been good enough just yet – particularly in defence. It’s been tough without either Fabinho or Henderson to operate as the defensive shield but you’d still want more from Thiago.
It reached its worst point on Saturday as Jamie Carragher labelled Thiago a ‘liability’ for his efforts against Leicester. And it was hard to argue that.
But Tuesday sees the 29-year-old with a golden opportunity to put things right.
Big game performance
Liverpool have their away leg against RB Leipzig tonight. Although, in truth, it’s an away game for both teams as it’ll be in Budapest.
Regardless, it’s a game where Liverpool must keep things tight. They will hope for at least a draw to take back to Anfield.
In fact, a draw or win makes them massive favourites to win the tie.
That desire comes at a time where Liverpool anything but ‘tight at the back’. But Thiago, as a massively experienced midfielder, will have to contribute to fixing that.
If he puts in a quality, reliable performance against RB Leipzig, no one will criticise Thiago again anytime soon – especially in defence.
This is his golden opportunity to quickly shut his doubters up, then. Let’s hope he takes it.