Liverpool were handed their third consecutive home defeat after Manchester City struck four goals on Anfield soil. The emphatic victory sees the title hopefuls extend their lead over the reigning champions to a solid 10 points.
The Reds managed to find the back of the net only once, after Mohamed Salah tucked away a penalty just after the hour mark. However, aside from his goal and Roberto Firmino’s cracking attempt in the first half, Liverpool couldn’t trouble Man City and their watertight defence.
Alisson’s two costly errors will be on the mind of many Reds fans, but the few positive performances in the team shouldn’t be overlooked. Thiago Alcantara was a brute in the middle of the park for his new side and racked up some impressive stats.
The usual creativity of the champions was absent at Anfield last night. Despite having Sadio Mane back in the lineup, City made easy work of keeping their rivals at bay and ensuring they returned to Manchester with nothing less than three points.
But Jurgen Klopp will be impressed with the performance Thiago put in and he will undoubtedly be crucial when it comes to Liverpool facing Leicester City on Saturday.
According to Sofascore, the former Bayern Munich man put in an impressive three tackles, which is more than Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson managed from the backline, as he showed the kind of intensity in his defensive pressing and work that would have left Klopp nodding in approval.
Thiago also completed the most accurate long balls from the middle of the park, compared to his midfield partners. and that ability to switch play or change the direction of an attack is something the Reds have sorely lacked with Virgil van Dijk’s absence.
The Spaniard was the midfield hub for Klopp’s men on Sunday, with his total of 75 touches the most of anyone in the Reds’ engine room, and it was no surprise that they looked to try and go through the former Bayern Munich man whenever they could.
Dubbed a “coach’s dream” by his former manager Niko Kovac, Thiago could be on the cusp of unearthing a new creative masterclass from Liverpool’s engine room. He hasn’t contributed any goals or assists yet in the Premier League, but he averages an 89.4% passing accuracy each match, along with 2.2 tackles.
His versatility to not just create play but to also help defend is a very important asset for Liverpool if they are to resurrect their title chase, especially when you consider the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, who’d usually offer that midfield shield and protection, are having to play in defence.
Klopp will be chipping away at the £210k-a-week earning star’s full potential until he becomes a real driving force for the Reds. They might have been handed a damaging blow to their chances of retaining the Premier League title on Sunday, but what the game did show, is that Thiago has got all the tools in his locker to be a really important part of the jigsaw for the Merseyside club in the long-term.
He was a rare shining light in an ultimately disappointing night at Anfield.