Thiago matched a career best against West Brom yesterday. The Spaniard had arguably his best game in a Liverpool shirt.
We’ve been very impressed with Thiago over the last few games. It’s wonderful to see after a difficult start.
The midfielder quickly picked up a long-term injury on joining the club, ruling him out for months. By the time he returned, everything was an absolute mess.
A dysfunctional, misfit Liverpool team wasn’t an easy one to adapt to. Thus we saw Thiago struggle to settle into things, often having to play as a holding midfielder who shielded the defence.
Going forward, he wasn’t in-tune with the team’s pressing – though, no one was. But he also slowed things down a little too much with the ball, not entirely meshing with Liverpool’s direct best.
But time makes a difference. Thiago now looks near-perfect in this Liverpool team and that’s really shone over the last few games.
Against Southampton, for instance, Thiago had a stellar first half that saw him run things. He slowed down quite a bit in the second but that didn’t really matter as he grabbed his first goal for the club.
Thiago wasn’t perfect against Manchester United but he was still pretty great. His defensive work was ace and the pressing was undoubtedly his best yet.
But everything kicked up another notch against West Brom.
Thiago vs West Brom
Thiago was imperious. He attempted 106 passes in the game, constantly moving the ball and West Brom about. He completed 96 of those, too – 23 more than any other player.
That 91 per cent success rate was the best of any starting player – from either side – which is quite remarkable. Thiago completed two dribbles, too, which only Roberto Firmino bettered (3).
His four tackles were 50 per cent of Liverpool’s total. Again, his success rate was phenomenal – 100 per cent. Thiago even won three defensive headers.
What really stands out, though, is Thiago’s creativity. He created five chances in this game, which tied for the most with Trent Alexander-Arnold.
But that figure of five is also Thiago’s career-best, matching a game against Hannover 96 five-and-a-half years ago (per Liverpoolfc.com).
Thiago, after all, isn’t necessarily the player who creates the chance. He’s a deeper playmaker, spreading passes around the pitch to open up space for teammates. His 96 passes show that.
But against West Brom, Thiago did it all. He even came close to scoring on a couple of occasions as he consistently got forward.
As we say, we’re really impressed with Thiago over these last few games. And the fact that Liverpool won all three is a fantastic sign that he’ll play a big part next season.