Thiago is delivering the stats Liverpool wanted this season, topping the Premier League in key areas. He’s doing it without the necessary help, too.
When Liverpool signed Thiago, is was primarily for one thing – his passing. He is undoubtedly one of the world’s best.
Liverpool wanted Thiago to come in and help unlock teams, then. An elite passer was essentially all they lacked from their midfield. They needed someone who could break opposition lines in midfield.
It was a problem they really ran into against Atletico Madrid last season. A tight, compact midfield stopped Liverpool from creating through theirs and it blunted them.
Thiago, though, specialises in turns and passes that open up space. He can pull players around, find the difficult passes that no one else can and consistently move your team forward.
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Liverpool haven’t quite seen the best of him, however. Thiago picked up an injury back in October that ruled him out for two months.
In fact, it’s only really now that we’re seeing him truly integrated in the side. That’s despite an injury crisis forcing Thiago to play in misfit midfields every week.
And that’s a real shame because is delivering on his promise.
Thiago is currently 3rd in the Premier League for passes into the final third.
He plays an average of 10.1 per game – only Fernandinho (10.4) and Jordan Henderson (10.9) beat that.
Thiago is the absolute best in the league for ‘progressive passes’, too. Those are passes that move the team forward at least 10 yards.
He does that 8.72 times per 90 and no one matches that (closest is Trent Alexander-Arnold with 8.68).
This is exactly what Liverpool wanted from Thiago. He’s showing a fantastic ability to move the team forward and unlock better positions.
Now, that’s not translating to results, of course. Liverpool have been pretty terrible ever since Thiago returned from his injury.
However, that’s certainly not down to him. He hasn’t been able to play in the first-choice midfield since October 17th, after all.
But the potential for Thiago, Fabinho and Henderson together is immense. The Brazilian is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the league, while we’ve seen how Thiago and Henderson are league-best in passing through midfield.
Put the three together and Liverpool have a wildly experienced, progressive midfield. It would undoubtedly be one of the best in the world.
Get some forwards in better form ahead of them, some solid defenders behind them, and it’s easy to see how Liverpool can dominate again next season.
Thiago is delivering what they wanted – now they must ensure the right pieces are there around him.