The Spaniard will wear the No.6 shirt for the Reds
The 29-year-old Spain international is on the verge of completing a £25m move to Liverpool and has already posted a farewell letter to Bayern Munich fans.
Liverpool’s capture of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich is an indicator the reigning Premier League champions won’t rest on their laurels as they aim to defend their title in the 2020/21 campaign.
The Reds won the English top-flight title with an 18-point margin last season and clinched the club’s sixth Champions League title the year before, signs that this Liverpool squad already has the class to compete for and win major silverware.
But the arrival of Thiago makes it clear that Klopp wasn’t keen on the idea of plowing ahead with options that are already at his disposal, an understandable thought once you consider that teams who finished below Liverpool last time out are spending left, right and centre this summer.
So how would the former Barcelona midfielder help this Liverpool side take the next step? And what could the Reds’ faithful expect from their new number six? Ligalive tries to answer both these questions by highlighting five things Liverpool fans may not need about new signing Thiago Alcantara.
His passing stats tell the same story. Squawka reports that the 29-year-old’s 91% pass accuracy during his seven-year stay in Munich is the highest any player has ever achieved in the German top-flight. Little wonder, then, that Hansi Flick tried his best to convince Thiago to stay put at the Allianz Arena.
That his passing stats are head and shoulders above his teammates is a proven fact thanks to the Squawka comparison matrix. The Spaniard had a better long pass accuracy (77.6% vs 64.29%), overall pass accuracy (90.48% vs 86.92%) and crossing accuracy (28.57% vs 27.09%) than his former Bayern teammates.
Across seven seasons, Thiago has maintained a 91% passing accuracy... the highest in Bundesliga history.
If you didn't believe it yet, Liverpool fans, this Hansi Flick interview will help. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/coHCkLmRPJ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 17, 2020
Liverpool fans might also find it good to note that their new signing sprays 23.3% of his passes in the forward direction – an amazing feat once you consider that his role as a deep-lying midfielder gives him more opportunity to keep his head towards his own goal.
Thiago is equally adept at opening the opposition’s defense with his through balls – a fact made clear by the piercing pass he provided in the Champions League final that allowed Bayern to score the only goal of the game to win the title.
Having played under Pep Guardiola and Hansi Flick, Thiago is already acclimatized to the pressing brand of football Jurgen Klopp has employed to perfection at Anfield.
Stats, once again , back up this fact. Naby Keita was the only Liverpool midfielder last season who had a better successful press percentage (34.7% vs 34.6%) and progressive distance covered (247.3km vs 172.4km) than that of Thiago.
Thiago was also second best only to Keita from the current crop of Liverpool midfielders when it came to goal creating actions (0.41 vs 0.68) and shot creating actions (2.85 vs 4.19) per game. Perhaps that’s the reason why Klopp, in 2015, described the duo as two of the best midfielders in Bundesliga.
Thiago + Liverpool (Bundesliga & PL only) per 90:— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) July 17, 2020
Shot creating actions: Keita 4.19, Thiago 2.85, Ox 2.49
Goal creating actions: Keita 0.68, Thiago 0.41, Henderson 0.28
Successful presses: Keita 8.11, Ox 6.82, Henderson 6.79, Fabinho 6.06, Thiago 5.13, Wijnaldum 4.82
What is more, the 29-year-old performed better than his soon-to-be Liverpool teammate on multiple counts. They include dispossession per 90 minutes (1.02 for Thiago Vs 1.08 for Keita) and dispossession due to mis-control per 90 minutes (0.66 for Thiago Vs 0.68 for Keita)
Throw into the mix the fact that Thiago fared better on ALL the abovementioned counts than Fabinho last season – the man whom he’d most likely replace in the heart of Liverpool’s midfield, and it gets easier to see why Liverpool fans are eagerly awaiting the Spaniard to don the club’s shirt.
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