How Wantaway Bayern Munich Star Thiago Alcântara Could Fit in at Liverpool

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Thiago Alcantara has been linked with a move to Liverpool
Thiago Alcantara has been linked with a move to Liverpool / DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Over the past four years, Jurgen Klopp has created a seemingly indestructible footballing machine - relentless, flawless and beautiful.

Things look as rosy as they ever have for the Premier League champions, but it is imperative that the Reds do not stand still. Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United dynasty was built on the motto: "strengthen when you're at your strongest," and it's a lesson that FSG and Liverpool would do well to learn.

They could even look closer to home for examples of what not to do. Manchester City's shortsighted failure to bring in a centre-back last summer has contributed to them relinquishing the title this season and the Citizens will now be charged a premium to bolster their defensive ranks in the summer.

Liverpool fans have been celebrating winning the Premier League title recently
Liverpool fans have been celebrating winning the Premier League title recently / OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Liverpool have already missed out on the chance to bring the immensely talented Timo Werner to Chelsea but they have recently been linked with another Bundesliga talent, Thiago Alcantara.

Bayern Munich CEO Karl Heinz Rummenigge recently confirmed that the Spanish playmaker wants to leave in the summer and he could be available for a cut-price fee as he has just one year left to run on his contract in Bavaria.

In a team of immortals, midifield could be pinpointed as an area in which the Reds can be strengthened. Naby Keita's struggles have continued this season while 34-year-old James Milner is in danger of running out of steam. Adam Lallana's imminent departure also weakens Klopp's hand in the middle of the park.

On the surface then, a move for Thiago has some appeal. But where exactly would the 29-year-old fit in alongside Klopp's champions? To answer this question it is necessary to give a brief summary of the type of player that he is.

It is easy to say why he is often described as an archetypal deep lying playmaker. Sculpted at Barcelona's revered La Masia academy, Thiago possesses all the traits associated with this role.

A sumptuous first touch? Check. Impossible passing range? Check. Salsa dancer like balance and agility? Check. It is no surprise that Pep Guardiola coined the famous phrase: “Thiago oder nichts” (Thiago or nothing) when quizzed about his recruitment plans at Bayern in 2013.

The Italian-born Spain international is Guardiola's ideal player, a metronomic short passer, keeping his side ticking over from deep. However, as his career has progressed, Thiago has shown himself to have far more strings to his bow than first believed.

Embodying the part Spanish, part German influenced football of Guardiola's Bayern side, he immediately added greater dynamism to his game after arriving in the counter-attacking obsessed Bundesliga.

Pep Guardiola made it a priority to sign Thiago at Bayern Munich
Pep Guardiola made it a priority to sign Thiago at Bayern Munich / Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Positionally, Thiago has also developed. While he has often been deployed in his typical number six role for Die Roten, spells as a more box-to-box number eight and even a number 10 under Carlo Ancelotti have punctuated his Allianz Arena career.

But what does all this mean for his potential role at Liverpool?

Well, Thiago is one of the passers in the world, both long and short. These skills would suit him well to spraying the sort of raking diagonals balls that the Reds have been using more frequently this season.

His devilish footballing intelligence and vision would also be a dream for Liverpool's front line. Both Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané are experts in running in behind defences. These are exactly the sorts of runs that Thiago is used to spotting, with Bayern's illustrious list of forwards frequently benefitting over the past seven years.

His ability to step up into a number ten role could also be key. Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita - when fit of course - are experts at driving in the space left in central areas by Roberto Firmino dropping deep and Thiago would thrive given similar responsibility.

His most prolific scoring season in Germany was during the 2016/2017 campaign, where he was doing exactly this sort of thing under Ancelotti. When he gets a scoring opportunity, his composure often sees the ball nestle in the back of the net.

A mark against Thiago is his recent groin surgery. Frustratingly, niggling fitness problems such as this have plagued his career and the groin issue specifically kept him out for the final stretch of the 2019/2020 season.

Thiago leaves Bayern Munich a seven time Bundesliga champion
Thiago leaves Bayern Munich a seven time Bundesliga champion / TF-Images/Getty Images

Not that Liverpool are entirely adverse to taking a chance on injury prone players as their rejuvenation of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has shown, though turning their noses up a Nabil Fekir may have signalled a change in approach.

Thiago could require a similar level of care and attention but it would be well worth it. Liverpool may be Premier League champions but the chance to sign such a mesmerising talent as such a low price is something that they should turn down.

It's exactly the sort of signing that could help usher in a period of Merseyside dominance over English football.