Thiago Alcantara’s exclusion from the Spain squad for the international break will have come as a surprise to many a Liverpool fan, albeit, a welcome one.
Despite Luis Enrique’s decision to overlook the talents of the midfield playmaker, the former Bayern Munich man continues to attract plaudits with Paul Merson stating his huge appreciation for the player.
“Thiago Alcantara is an unbelievable footballer, he’s a class act,” the Englishman told Sportskeeda.
“When he doesn’t play, Liverpool are a completely and utterly different team and we’ve seen that a handful of times already this season.
“When he first joined, there was a lot of talk that he slowed Liverpool down a little, but after he adapted to the pace of the Premier League, there’s been no stopping him!
“I just like the way he plays and moves – he’s always looking forward and is more than comfortable with playing one-touch football when the situation calls for it.
“I like players who see things on the football pitch before they happen and he’s one of them, which is why I’m such a big fan of him.”
It’s difficult to argue with the pundit’s comments after watching the 31-year-old’s impact in the 2-1 victory over Ajax – arguably the most compact midfield performance seen since the start of the campaign.
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There’s no question that Liverpool are categorically a better side with Thiago in the side than without, even when at our glittering, brilliant best, though it will raise fears about the possibility of an over-reliance on his services.
The Spaniard’s injury record doesn’t make for entirely positive reading and we can ill afford to post positive outings in the middle of the park only when our classy playmaker is available for selection.
The return of Jordan Henderson, currently away on international duty, will no doubt help ease the burden in that regard and, likewise, Arthur Melo’s efforts to get back up to speed will provide a more direct alternative to the No.6 should it be needed.