Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has claimed the performances of Thiago have confused him in recent weeks.
The Spaniard, whose blockbuster arrival in the summer excited the fanbase worldwide like no other since perhaps Fernando Torres in 2007, missed the first-half of the season with injury, and only got himself into the side in January.
In fairness, Thiago’s individual performances have looked more than fine, especially considering his lengthy layoff, but they have coincided with the team’s downfall.
Owen thinks there may be a connection between the two, although we think he’s probably more concerned with the upcoming odds on cheltenham races, as any Liverpool fan can see Thiago’s not the problem right now.
Owen told Optus Sport: “There’s another big question looming and it’s midfield over Thiago. We all know what a wonderful player he is.
“At the moment I’m not sure whether it’s because he’s come into a team that’s lacking confidence, or whether he’s part of a minor problem as well.
“If I was of his quality and someone like Shaqiri or Milner was coming on for me.
“I just don’t feel like he’s that he’s that man at the moment that’s offering something.
“Is it that he doesn’t really fit into this team or has he just come in at a bad moment. We’ll see but there’s something not quite right.”
Thiago’s job in midfield is to run the game – dominate possession – and inject pace through the lines with clever, zipped passes.
He’s done that in most of his appearances and the only real negative we have on his performances is his insistence on slide-tackling, which has earned him five yellow cards already.
The issue is Thiago is not the kind of player who will run in the box and get on the end of things, so he needs the other midfielders alongside him to be playing with dynamism and energy to complement his creativity.
That’s why Jordan Henderson’s return to the middle of the park is so crucial. He will do Thiago’s running for him – and ideally – we’ll have Fabinho anchoring the side to allow the 29-year-old free licence to work his magic.
In order for this to happen, Jurgen Klopp will need to field Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies as centre-backs – which considering we’re losing games anyway – is a risk we at EOTK are more than willing to take.