Thiago being at Liverpool should save the Reds from a Xabi Alonso repeat. The latter’s exit in 2009 caused chaos for the team.
Liverpool lose a key midfielder this summer – Gini Wijnaldum. He departs for Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the month as his contract expires.
It’s a big loss. Wijnaldum has been a key part of Liverpool’s midfield for give years now. That’s been a wonderfully successful five years, too, bringing trophies at domestic, European and world level.
We haven’t seen Liverpool lose a key midfielder in their prime like this for some time. Really, the last case was back in 2009 when Xabi Alonso departed for Real Madrid.
It’s was a transfer that caused chaos for Liverpool.
Alonso had been the chief playmaker in Liverpool’s team. He sat deep alongside Javier Mascherano and it was his job to keep the midfield ticking over.
His presence created a base to play off, while his passing opened teams up. Without him there, no one could get the ball to Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres.
So when he left, Liverpool went to find a passing midfielder. They settled on Alberto Aquilani from AS Roma.
There were three problems, though. Firstly, Aquilani was better playing more advanced than Alonso and that took away that ‘base’ in midfield. Secondly, he just wasn’t as good as the Spaniard.
And then there was the big problem – Aquilani was always injured. Liverpool just didn’t have that defence-splitter in their midfield and everything fell to pieces.
Gerrard and Torres were completely isolated, Liverpool struggled to maintain possession, and the entire plan didn’t work.
Fortunately, we don’t need to worry about that this time around.
Thiago prevents Xabi Alonso situation
Liverpool effectively signed their Wijnaldum replacement last year. They brought in Thiago for £20m and there’s little doubt in our minds that he was supposed to be a first-choice midfielder last season.
In fact, we think he’d have taken Wijnaldum’s spot. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Thiago should have been the go-to trio, if not for injuries.
It’ll surely be the midfield next season, though.
Having Thiago already at the club and adapted to the way things work should prevent a collapse like 2009’s. Liverpool know how to fit things together with the Spaniard.
That will prove vital. Instead of having to scramble for a replacement, Liverpool can rest easy that Thiago is an elite midfielder who can keep the middle of the pitch to a high level.
We’ve already seen him play wonderfully in Red and we expect him to get even better. It’s a massive bonus – if not for Thiago, there would be a real worry about things struggling post-Wijnaldum.