After seeing off Norwich City at the weekend, Liverpool face Leeds United in the Premier League on Wednesday night hoping to close the gap at the top of the table.
The Reds saw Manchester City slip to a defeat on Sunday, and know that all three points against Leeds tonight at Anfield would be another big step to really pushing this Premier League title race down to the wire.
One man who Jurgen Klopp should surely be starting against the Whites, is Thiago Alcantara.
The Spaniard has had his fair share of injury problems this season for Liverpool as he struggles to get consistent game-time under his belt – his longest run of action saw him make seven appearances in the Premier League consecutively between November and December.
However, that run illustrated signs of Thiago being back to his absolute best, with the midfielder starting in six successive games and seeing the Reds rattle off win after win – Klopp’s side scored 17 goals and conceded just twice in that time.
As per WhoScored, his average match rating of 7.08 ranks him as Liverpool’s second-best performing midfielder this season in the Premier League behind only Fabinho.
And, against Norwich when he came off the bench, the former Bayern Munich man changed the course of the game in Liverpool’s favour, completing two out of his three attempted dribbles and providing two key passes.
Speaking after his impressive cameo against the Canaries, Klopp said: “Thiago with his passing, really fresh, really relaxed, full of confidence, that helped as well. He is a good player, we just have to make sure we can keep him fit.”
And, speaking late last year, he declared: “Coming to a new club like Liverpool, in the most difficult period in all our lives, he settled really well. His family is here, he loves it here, he was in the middle of the team very quickly. He’s a really good character, really good personality and obviously a world-class player.”
With that ability to turn in tight spaces and beat the press, Thiago could be crucial to overcoming the high-intensity style Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds play with, and could give the Reds real control of the midfield.
Liverpool only had to see their rivals Manchester United cause danger numerous times in their 4-2 win at Elland Road just by sheer counter-attacking and quick passing, and Thiago certainly has the quality to pick the right pass and change the tempo of a game.
The £16m-rated star could be the man to wreak havoc against Leeds.