Thiago came out of Liverpool’s win over Wolves with some impressive pressing stats. The Spaniard is getting there.
Thiago pressed Wolves 30 times in just 66 minutes on Monday evening. Only Fabinho betters that (34) but the Brazilian played an extra 24 minutes.
The big takeaway here is Thiago’s willingness to adapt. His average for Bayern Munich last season was 14.8 presses per 90, meaning he doubled that against Wolves.
In fact, Thiago’s defensive stats read very well. He combined for eight tackles and interceptions – four of each – which was the joint-most. Ruben Neves, the player he matched, again played more minutes, though.
What really stands out is how Thiago was pressing across the pitch. Of course, the majority came in the middle (18 presses) but he split the remaining twelve evenly across the defensive and attacking thirds.
This is what Liverpool want to see. Thiago is a very willing presser – seemingly more willing than anyone – which is encouraging at this stage of the season.
But there is room for improvement.
While Thiago pressed a lot, he wasn’t as effective as he could have been. Only 20 per cent of his presses resulted in Liverpool getting the ball back.
For comparison, Fabinho was just a fraction shy of 30 per cent. Only Naby Keita did worse (16.4 per cent).
But we can look at this positively. Liverpool kept a clean-sheet, after all, and Thiago’s effort levels are fantastic.
The more in-tune he gets with the overall press, the higher that percentage will climb. It’s easy to forget that he missed pre-season and then two months of this campaign – he’s not fully integrated.
Liverpool, then, can come away impressed and encouraged with all this. Thiago can become an elite presser in midfield, which is a scary thought.
The Reds can move towards a midfield of Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson – a midfield packed with energy, intelligence and experience.