Thiago Alcantara delivered a midfield masterclass as Liverpool thumped arch-rivals Manchester United 4-0 at Anfield on Tuesday evening to bolster their claims in the race for the title.
It now puts immense pressure on Manchester City, who they defeated in the FA Cup semi-final at the weekend, to keep up the ground ahead of their fixture with Brighton and Hove Albion later tonight.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were in rampant form as they picked apart a Red Devils side decimated with injuries – it was summed up by the fact that Phil Jones was starting in a back three for his second top-flight appearance of the season.
The three tiny terrors up top for the Merseyside giants had an evening to remember with all three getting their names on the scoresheet.
Mo Salah broke his duck to bag a brace, scoring the second goal after Luis Diaz opened the scoring and the final goal of the rout five minutes from time after Sadio Mane fired home a delightful first-time finish just after the hour mark.
Plenty of the plaudits will go to both the Egyptian and the Senegalese winger, whom both faced one another in the recent international break, but it was the Spanish midfielder who absolutely ran the proceedings, truth be told.
Earning a second-high 8.2 rating by SofaScore, Thiago looked a class apart during the 80 minutes he had on the pitch, registering a phenomenal passing accuracy of 95% from 110 attempts.
Three of these passes resulted in a key chance created, whilst the 31-year-old – who cost the club just £25m – also recorded a whopping 129 touches of the ball, the most on the pitch, only further highlighting his input and influence in the win.
Elsewhere, he did his defensive dues, winning a total of three tackles, two interceptions and one block, on top of a further 77.7% duels won, as per SofaScore.
The £19.8m-rated maestro earned some high praise for his fine showing in Liverpool.
Liverpool ECHO chief Ian Doyle dubbed him “incredible,” popular fan page Anfield Watch claimed he was playing “on a different planet,” and verified journalist Brad Webb lauded him as a “Rolls-Royce” of a player.
It didn’t stop there as the ECHO wrote in their post-match ratings:
‘Seemed to be on a different level to everyone else in terms of his passing, and United couldn’t handle his speed of thought or tenacity. Faultless.’
Indeed, it was Thiago’s world and we were just living in it at Anfield on Tuesday night. What a performance. He absolutely ran the show for Klopp.