Utilising Thiago Alcantara in More Advanced Role the Key to Unlocking the Liverpool Attack

Thiago role

Before last night’s 3-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool had gone five games without a win in the league, with a lack of goals to blame. In those five games, predictability and a lack of creativity was the apparent issue for all to see. 

Yet, in last night’s win, Liverpool didn’t look a side on a five-game run without a goal or three points. Instead, they looked like the Premier League champions; they looked a side so dominant in the press; so vigorous going forward. Ultimately, they looked like Jurgen Klopp’s mentality monsters. 

And, whilst a return to form for both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino played a large part in the impressive display, it was a change of position for Thiago Alcantara which made the difference.

Playing Thiago in a More Advanced Role the Key for Liverpool

Liverpool Back to Scintillating Best

Instead of playing in a deeper role, Thiago was released from the shackles of defensive responsibility and thrust into a more advanced position to help put an end to Liverpool’s goalscoring woes.   

If you take a look at Mohamed Salah’s goal- which, in the end, was ruled out, you’ll notice the impact of Thiago in a more advance role. As the ball came into Roberto Firmino’s feet, Thiago was perfectly placed to receive the lay-off before playing an inch-perfect pass into Sadio Mane’s feet who found Salah for the goal. 

In the end, a handball meant the goal could not stand, but Thiago’s influence in a more advanced role was there for all to see. Utilising the former Bayern Munich man’s passing range higher up the pitch could be the difference-maker for Liverpool this season. 

With him in that role, Jurgen Klopp’s pressing machine was back to its scintillating best. But, Georginio Wijnaldum also deserves some credit for the display.

Versatility of Georginio Wijnaldum Allowed for Position Change

Of course, with Thiago in a more advanced role, someone had to fill the void left in the deeper position. And that someone was Gini Wijnaldum. The Dutchman is every manager’s dream. 

If you want a box-to-box midfielder, Wijnaldum is your man. If you want an attacking midfielder- as proven when with the Dutch national team- Wijnaldum is your man. And, as proven last night, if you want a number six, Wijnaldum is your man. 

His versatility allowed for the crucial position change of Thiago, and, when filling in, he dominated the middle of the park- putting out fires whilst they were just showing hints of becoming a flame. 

The stats only add further accreditation to his performance, too. In total, the Dutchman made 12 ball recoveries- four more than any other Liverpool player. And that was the difference for the Reds.

In recent times, they have failed to show fight- losing out on every second ball. Against Tottenham, the fight was back, the creativity returned in abundance, and, as a result, so did the goals. 

When Liverpool needed to the must – as they have always done under Jurgen Klopp – they stepped up to put in what could be a season-defining performance.

 

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