Jurgen Klopp has reacted to praise of Thiago as a “Rolls Royce,” with the Liverpool manager in awe of his No. 6 but arguing: “He probably wants to be a Bentley!”
Thiago produced another outstanding display in his 15th start of the season on Saturday, with the 30-year-old thriving in the engine room against Watford.
Having been left out of the Spain squad, Thiago benefited from a quiet international break to take up duties alongside Jordan Henderson and Curtis Jones at Anfield.
He was Liverpool’s most consistent outlet beyond the defence, with 100 touches according to WhoScored, and created the joint-most chances of any player (three) as well as making the most tackles (five) and interceptions (three).
It led talkSPORT host Jim White to hail Thiago as “a little Rolls Royce of a player,” as he spoke to Klopp after the game.
“He probably wants to be a Bentley, rather than a Rolls Royce, so he’s a bit quicker!” the German replied.
“But no, he’s an outstanding player – wow.
“I knew that when he arrived here, of course. He was unlucky with injuries and stuff like this at the start, but when he is fit he can give the game a real rhythm.
“He’s got an eye for that, he calms the game down in the right moments, he has a sensational overview of the game.
“I saw that a lot in football games, too, I just didn’t have the feet to use it. So thank God he does!
“I can imagine you enjoyed it, I did as well.”
Thiago is undoubtedly one of the most talented footballers in the Liverpool squad, but it is so often the case that his body has let him down since arriving from Bayern Munich.
His performance on Saturday was another reminder of the influence he has on the side, and with the Reds chasing three more trophies between now and the end of the season, he can prove vital.
The ability to rotate the starting lineup between games is essential to maintaining Thiago‘s fitness, and the hope will be that Naby Keita can return to availability as soon as possible – as he is the de facto alternative.
Jones picked up a minor issue against Watford, too, but fingers are crossed that he is not to be sidelined, with the 20-year-old an important squad player for the run-in – as is Harvey Elliott, who picked up minutes with the under-23s on Saturday.
There are certainly options to shuffle into the side, but there is no denying that the focus will be on prioritising Liverpool’s Bentley for the big games.