Luis Garcia has explained that he always knew Thiago Alcantara would become a vital player for Liverpool even when people were doubting if the Spaniard suited the Reds’ style of play.
The 31-year-old took time to settle into life at Anfield following his 2020 move from Bayern Munich but has become an imperative part of Jurgen Klopp’s squad this season, making 38 appearances (across all competitions) and performing superbly in the middle of the park.
“Many people didn’t know much about Thiago and his quality, the way he played at Bayern and how he grew up at Barcelona,” Garcia explained (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo).
“He is a special player and, when he’s on the ball, he is one of the best. The injuries didn’t help him either and now we can see what Thiago can bring to this team – that quality and creativity and ability to find the spaces.
“Real Madrid know him very well and that they’re going to have to bring the best of (Toni) Kroos and (Luka) Modric. They need to be well-organised because the pace Liverpool has up front and the way they interact between the attack and midfield is very intense. If they bring that to Real Madrid, it’s going to be difficult for them as they’re not used to that style and they like to control the game.”
The former Barcelona man was substituted during Liverpool’s final Premier League game of the season on Sunday with a suspected achilles injury, but in Klopp’s press conference yesterday ahead of this weekend’s Champions League final, he confirmed he’s expecting the Spain international to participate in training today and the latest update on Thiago’s fitness was ‘surprisingly good’.
Thiago will be vital in our attempts of winning the European Cup for the seventh time.
As Garcia has rightly pointed out, Madrid have experienced midfielders such as Luka Modric and Toni Kroos who will want to have possession of the ball in order to dictate play.
That is exactly what Thiago will want to do as well, though, so it will be a major boost if the two-time Champions League winner is passed fit.
One of our other vital midfielders, Fabinho, is also expected to be passed fit for the clash with Carlo Ancelotti’s side in Paris after returning to team training earlier this week.
Other than the uncertainty over Thiago, Klopp should be able to name his strongest XI at the Stade de France.
If former Bayern Munich man Thiago is passed fit, we’d expect him to start alongside Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson in the engine room in what is certainly our strongest midfield three.
The midfield battle will be pivotal at the weekend, who ever wins the tussle in the middle of the park will have a great chance of lifting the trophy at the end of the night.