While all the top clubs were wrapping up impressive deals to strengthen their sides ahead of the 2020/2021 Premier League season, things looked very quiet in Liverpool.
Winning the title last term raised expectations for the Merseyside Reds and everyone was waiting for the fresh faces who would help them stay ahead of the pack but there was almost nothing happening on that front.
This all changed during the weekend when the club officially announced the captures of both Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota.
Getting their hands on the electric Portuguese forward Jota who has undoubtedly been at the heart of Nuno Espirito Santo’s success with Wolverhampton is exciting enough, however, in this piece I concentrate on the deal that brought Spaniard Thiago to Anfield.
I review the details of the transfer and then share my thoughts on why I feel this is a brilliant piece of business for Jurgen Klopp and his side.
Thiago Alcantara’s Move to Liverpool
There was no shortage of suitors for the services of the Spanish midfielder with clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, and Juventus all linked with the player during the summer.
The rumors gradually got colder and colder but it looks like the reason for this was the fact that Liverpool was working tirelessly to get him on board.
And there are a couple of notable reasons why the player chose to go to Anfield.
First of all, Klopp was able to convince him how high this team’s ambition is, and at 29 years of age, it’s no surprise that Thiago wanted a move to a club where he can immediately challenge for the big honors the same way he has been doing it throughout his whole career.
In addition, being raised in the Barcelona youth system, Thiago is very much a believer that a football squad should be really close and have the right collective mindset in the dressing room to be successful, and there’s plenty of that at Liverpool right now.
According to Alcantara we should also credit former Reds Xabi Alonso and Philippe Coutinho for the move.
Thiago has played with both of them and seems to have a close relationship that has helped convince him how going to Anfield will be the right move for him.
From Liverpool’s point of view, all of this worked like a charm but what really puts the cherry on top for the club is that they will only need to pay a mere 25 million pounds for the services of the Spanish playmaker.
This is an outrageously low price for an established player of that caliber and this contributes greatly to why I believe the signing has been the best transfer business during this window.
Can Thiago Be a Game-Changer for Klopp?
Absolutely and it was already evident just after 45 minutes on the pitch for his new club.
Thiago will never be a prolific goalscorer and his assists numbers can’t rival those of Kevin de Bruyne or Mesut Ozil but he immediately slotted into Liverpool’s midfield and did what he does best.
After club captain Jordan Henderson sustained an injury against Chelsea at the weekend, Klopp decided to give his new man an early chance to impress and impress he did.
In just 45 minutes, Thiago completed 75 passes which were more than any of Chelsea’s players managed for the entire game.
The achievement was also the most passes any player has completed playing just 45 minutes since 2003.
Given how Liverpool relied massively on their full-backs to marshall the forward play, adding such creativity and composure to the center of the park can be a massive improvement.
Although they won the title last term, the Reds were nowhere near the leaders in practically any department related to passing, including through balls.
With their new number 6, this is bound to change.
It is exactly what Thiago specializes in and there’s no doubt that he can give this midfield a new dimension.
He can not only take a bit of load off the young Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson when it comes to building up from deep but has the ability to immediately sharpen attacks with a single pass.
His statistics from Barcelona and Bayern Munich confirm that Thiago is a very attack-oriented player and the bulk of his passes are played forward.
This is again something that Liverpool was lacking even with the best efforts of Fabinho, Naby Keita, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Jordan Henderson.
Speaking of these players, Thiago looks like he can strike a partnership with any of them and the balance will still work great as the Spaniard does not shy away from a tackle despite being your typical silky midfielder when on the ball.
But I feel that the front trio will be the biggest winners from this transfer.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and the ever-improving Mohamed Salah have had to craft most of their chances by themselves in recent seasons and even though they’ve done a wonderful job at that, imagine how much deadlier can Liverpool’s attack be with a player that can play through balls with his eyes closed.
It just fees like Jurgen Klopp has added the perfect missing piece.
Thiago is by no means your typical Klopp player but is exactly what the team needed and his debut proves he will immediately turn into Liverpool’s best passer.
When you add the fact that the club signed the player for just 25 million pounds, I don’t see how this isn’t the best deal in the window yet.
Despite the slow summer, Klopp has pulled off an absolute masterstroke here and I’m sure the other clubs will be wary of the brand new dimension that Thiago Alcantara is giving the current champions.