Jurgen Klopp finally got to use his first-choice midfield against Crystal Palace as Liverpool saw out a 3-0 win. The boss hasn’t had it available very often.
When Liverpool signed Thiago a year ago, it was almost certainly with a particular midfield in mind. The Spaniard always had the quality of a starting XI player and seemingly fit nicely alongside Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
That’s a midfield that has everything. You’ve got the leadership and athleticism of Jordan Henderson, capable of pressing all over the pitch and pulling players about.
Thiago is the pass master who controls the tempo and breaks teams down. He can afford to sit deep and offer passes from every angle, knowing Henderson will do the running into advanced space.
And then there’s Fabinho. The Brazilian offers a world-class base to midfield. His defensive qualities allow the other two to focus on what they do best – he’ll handle the dirty work.
Klopp got to use this midfield back on October 17th last year. He debuted it against Everton at Goodison Park – and never since. Injuries – including to Thiago in that game – crippled the squad and we didn’t see the combination again.
Klopp finally picks elite Liverpool midfield
The trio lined up against Crystal Palace at Anfield and there was excitement around it. Just how good would it look, one year after being put together?
Pretty good, it turns out. The three of them largely did exactly what you’d expect.
Fabinho and Henderson – the more aggressive pair – won six tackles between them. Fabinho and Thiago – the deeper two – picked up three interceptions.
Defensively, then, they were spot on as Liverpool kept a clean sheet. There may have been some individual shakey moments but as a unit, it worked.
As for with the ball, Liverpool got what they needed. Henderson and Thiago each finished with 87% pass completion, Fabinho with 93%. The more advanced duo created five chances between them, too, and impressively, were only dispossessed once all game.
And to top it all off, they mustered eight shots as a trio. Thiago was very, very unfortunate not to score from a Henderson cross, in fact.
So considering this was only their second time together – and that Thiago went off on 62 minutes – this was all incredibly encouraging. More games together should only lead to more cohesion and better performances all-around.
A potential best midfield in the world shout? We’re not sure we’d swap them for anything else. They can truly do it all.