Thiago Alcantara: Liverpool's 'luxury' player still has plenty to offer

Thiago Alcantara is entering the fourth and final season of his Liverpool contract, and the supremely talented midfielder has question marks hanging over his head.

With Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai being brought into the side for a combined £95m, something had to give with Liverpool older midfielders. Club captain Jordan Henderson has left for Saudi Arabia, with Fabinho thought to be following in a deal worth £40m.

But what happens to Thiago?

Rumours have been rife linking him with a move away from Anfield, with offers from Saudi reportedly turned down by the player, while a return to Barcelona has also been touted.

However, the 32-year-old remains determined to see out the final year of his contract on Merseyside and continue making the Reds faithful gasp with his ball work. One problem though; he’s made just 67 Premier League appearances in his three campaigns in England.

Thiago, for all of his talent and artistry, is not a midfielder that can be relied upon and Jurgen Klopp knows this. The Reds midfielder missed the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester City after picking up an injury in the warm-up and needed injections to play in the Champions League final loss to Real Madrid.

When Thiago was injured, Liverpool missed a huge creative figure in their midfield. Last season, the Spaniard played just 18 times in a Premier League campaign where the Reds struggled massively in the centre of the pitch. Meanwhile, youngsters such as Harvey Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic were relied on far too often.

However, with two new signings now made and Romeo Lavia next on the agenda for Klopp, Thiago’s importance to the side may change significantly.

The Spaniard will likely be used more as a 'luxury' player, allowing for rest and recovery while the likes of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai put in the hard yards. If the Reds then need a change in the second half, what an option to have off the bench. Just imagine a fit Thiago being brought on to help break down a low-block!

When he plays, Thiago is often still the best midfielder on the pitch and he will never lose that quality. With James Milner and Henderson out of the door, experience and leadership is invaluable in a stage of transition. The former Barcelona man can offer both of them qualities in abundance.

Helping the new signings settle into life on Merseyside while showing them the Liverpool way in midfield could prove to be invaluable this season. Changes are afoot at Anfield, but the 32-year-old doesn’t need to be one of them just yet.

When fit and firing, he walks into the starting XI and can play across the number six and eight positions. His ball retention and progression skills are as good as anyone in the Premier League and he makes those around him better.

The difference the former Bayern Munich star could make for Liverpool, when fit, is more than what selling him for around £15m would do.

A clear-out was promised and that is what happened. Liverpool have waved goodbye to Henderson, Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita in their midfield department. Thiago sticking around, at least until the new boys bed in, is vital.

Experience is key in football and not many have more than Thiago. Yes, his Liverpool career is coming to a close sooner rather than later, but one more campaign out of him would do more good than it would harm.

Thiago is capable of magical moments on a football pitch and Anfield deserves the chance to witness that for one more season as the new midfield under Klopp starts to take shape.

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