June 21, 2021

‘Thiago the artist up there with Alonso & Gerrard’ – Aldridge salutes ‘glorious’ Liverpool playmaker

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The ex-Reds frontman says those at Anfield are going to get “a lot of enjoyment” out of a ball-playing Spaniard during his time in English football

Thiago Alcantara is an “artist” on the ball and “up there” with Steven Gerrard and Xabi Alonso when it comes to the finest exponents of a pass in Liverpool’s illustrious history, says John Aldridge.

The Reds have not seen as much of a Spanish playmaker as they would have liked since snapping him up from Bayern Munich over the summer.

An eye-catching debut off the bench in a Premier League victory over Chelsea gave the reigning Premier League champions an early taste of what they had acquired.

Thiago has, however, taken in an enforced spell on the sidelines since then after contracting coronavirus.

He stepped back in for a Merseyside derby date with Everton, but was caught by a reckless challenge from Richarlison in that contest which saw the Toffees forward collect a straight red card.

A “proper knock” kept the 29-year-old out of a Champions League win over Ajax and it remains to be seen whether he will come back into contention for a home date with Sheffield United on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp will be eager to return Thiago’s creativity to his side as soon as possible, with there every reason to believe that he can cement a standing as a modern-day great during his time on Merseyside.

Aldridge is among those expecting big things, with the former Reds striker telling the Liverpool Echo: “At least it looks like Thiago is going to be okay [against the Blades] after that disgusting tackle from Richarlison and what a performance he put in at Goodison.

“He’s had his injury problems in the past and the manager is going to have to nurse him through at times but I would say just sit back and enjoy this player.

“He is a joy to watch, an artist on the ball.

“I’ve seen great passers in a red shirt – Xabi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, going back to Jan Molby who I played alongside, and this lad is right up there, you just want to see him getting on the ball all the time.

“He is a glorious, lovely footballer to watch and I think Liverpool fans are going to get a lot of enjoyment from him.”

Liverpool pulled off quite the coup in enticing Thiago to Anfield, with his last outing for Bayern having been the 2020 Champions League final as the German giants completed another historic treble in the most memorable of campaigns.