Thiago Has Liverpool Dancing To A Different Beat

Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara controls the ball as he attends a team training session at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, north west England, on April 26, 2022, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg football match against Villareal. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP)

 

Liverpool’s fast and furious football under Jurgen Klopp had already delivered a Champions League and Premier League title by the time Thiago Alcantara arrived at Anfield to much fanfare two years ago.

Few players in the history of the game can match the Spaniard’s medal haul that includes 11 league titles and Champions League glory with both Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

However, Thiago was not an obvious fit for Klopp’s energy-sapping demands of his midfielders.

Initial scepticism was borne out during a difficult first year in England for the 31-year-old. Thiago was just one of Klopp’s key men to miss a large portion of the season due to injury.

Yet, even when he was fit, there was criticism that the man whose ability to put his foot on the ball and control the tempo of the game moved too slowly for Liverpool’s swashbuckling style.

“Thank God these people don’t make decisions,” said Klopp on the critics.

“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.”

That vision has come to the fore as Liverpool approach immortality by winning an unprecedented quadruple.

The League Cup is already back in the Anfield trophy room and Klopp’s men will face Chelsea in the FA Cup final later this month.

Liverpool still need a slip-up by Manchester City in the final four games of the Premier League campaign if they are to win the title, but the two sides are on course to meet for a fourth time this season in the Champions League final.

Thiago was man-of-the-match as the Reds beat Villarreal 2-0 in the first leg of their semi-final to put one foot in the final.

No side has ever won all four major trophies on offer to an English club in the same season.

But Thiago has already completed a clean sweep in two different countries after winning trebles with Barca and Bayern.

“I enjoyed every period of my career,” he said when asked if he has ever played better than in recent months.

“For sure I am enjoying 100 percent my time here. We have this mixture of experienced players and younger players. We create this amazing ambiance that we help each other.”

Tellingly, Liverpool’s worst spell of the season coincided with Thiago’s absence due to coronavirus and a hip injury either side of the turn of the year.

The only time Klopp’s men have lost all season with him in the starting line-up was an inconsequential 1-0 defeat to Inter in the Champions League last 16 after winning the first leg 2-0 in the San Siro.

Liverpool have not lost by a two-goal margin in 56 games all season. Avoid such a defeat again on Tuesday and they will be in to a third Champions League final in five seasons.

The Reds have come a long way since the first of those finals when Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Toni Kroos helped nullify Liverpool’s press in a 3-1 win for the Spanish giants in Kiev.

A rematch of that clash is also a possibility for Paris on May 28 should Madrid produce another famous European fightback from 4-3 down against City in the other semi-final.

However, this time Liverpool have the extra dimension of their own pass master with Thiago making them tick.

Van Dijk’s Knee Does Not Look Like It Should: Klopp


Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

Virgil van Dijk’s knee does not look like a knee should look after surgery, the Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said.

The Reds defender ruptured his knee ligaments in the Merseyside derby in October following a nasty challenge from Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and has since undergone successful surgery.

During a  pre-match press conference ahead of their Champions League fixture against Ajax, Klopp said that the defender was in good condition though his knee wasn’t in great shape.

“Considering the circumstances he is doing well but the knee doesn’t look good,” to be honest, the reds boss said regrettably.

Van Dijk who has been an instrumental part of the premier league winning side has notched 14 goals in 162 matches, while his defensive partnership pairing with Gomez and Matip successively kept 61 clean sheets

He also had this to say concerning the defender’s knee “it doesn’t look good, to be honest. It doesn’t look like a knee should look, but it looks good for a knee with that surgery and the time he had since the surgery”

“So, yes, of course, we are in contact and he’s doing well, that’s true.” when asked if he and the defender were in contact

Klopp also provided an update on Thiago Alcantara’s injury, saying the Spanish midfielder remains a few weeks away from full fitness. Thiago picked up an injury against Everton, following a tackle from Richarlison.

“Thiago, we have to maybe clarify it a little bit,” he affirmed.

”After the scans, it was like one was really bad news, and the other one was really good news because nothing was broken, nothing was ruptured and stuff like this, he further added.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, who suffered a calf injury during the Manchester City match has resumed on-pitch rehabilitation according to the manager

“Trent looks quite good,” Klopp also said.

“I saw him on the pitch doing his rehab stuff so that already looks good but I cannot decide when it will be finished. From what I saw today, it won’t be much longer,” he concluded.

Liverpool next face Ajax in their champions league tie on Tuesday with Naby Keita, James Milner, Joe Gomez, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a long-term absentee with a knee injury.

Liverpool’s Thiago Tests Positive For COVID-19

Liverpool's Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara looks to play a pass during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 20, 2020. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara looks to play a pass during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in London on September 20, 2020. Michael Regan / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for coronavirus, the Premier League champions confirmed on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old, who joined from Bayern Munich this month, missed Monday’s 3-1 win over Arsenal and will now self-isolate.

“Thiago Alcantara has tested positive for Covid-19 and is currently self-isolating according to the necessary guidelines,” Liverpool said in a statement.

“The club has, and will continue to follow, all protocols relating to Covid-19 and Thiago will remain in self-isolation for the required period of time.”

The Spanish international will miss another clash with Arsenal in the League Cup on Thursday aswell as  Sunday’s Premier League trip to Aston Villa, but could be available for the Merseyside derby at Everton on October 17.

On Monday, the Premier League announced 10 players or staff had tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous week, the highest number of infections since mass testing began in May.

 

AFP

Liverpool Sign Bayern Munich’s Thiago For $26 Million

 In this file photo taken on October 14, 2017 Bayern Munich's Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara celebrates after scoring the 3-0 during the German First division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs SC Freiburg in Munich, southern Germany. Liverpool announced the signing of Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich on Friday, September 18. Christof STACHE / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 14, 2017 Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara celebrates after scoring the 3-0 during the German First division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich vs SC Freiburg in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP

 

Liverpool signed Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich for a reported fee of £20 million ($26 million) on Friday.

Thiago agreed a “long-term contract” with the Premier League champions after deciding to end his seven-year stay with Bayern.

The 29-year-old moves to Anfield after helping Bayern win the Bundesliga, the German Cup and Champions League last season.

“I think it’s an amazing feeling. I was waiting for this moment for a long time and I am very happy to be here,” Thiago told Liverpool’s website.

 

 

AFP

Bayern Munich Confirm Thiago Alcantara Moving To Liverpool

Embattled Bayern Hunt Thiago Replacement
In this file photo taken on October 02, 2018 Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara walks at the field during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP.

 

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed Thursday the club has agreed a transfer with Liverpool for Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

“I can confirm that FC Bayern have finally agreed with Liverpool FC,” Rummenigge told German daily Bild.

“It was Thiago’s big wish to once more do something new before the end of his career.”

It is understood Liverpool will pay an initial fee of £20 million ($26 million) for the player, who has one year remaining on his contract at European champions Bayern, with more to follow in add-ons.

Bayern head coach Hansi Flick congratulated Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on landing Alcantara, who he described as an “exceptional player”.

“‘Kloppo’ is getting a top player and a great person,” Flick said Thursday.

“It was very emotional today when he (Alcantara) said goodbye.”

Thiago, 29, had a year left on his contract at Bayern and had stalled over signing an extension.

The Spain international joined Bayern from Barcelona in 2013 and played a key role in last month’s Champions League final victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

It had been reported a potential move for Thiago was being held up by uncertainty over the future of Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Dutchman, who is in the final year of his contract at Anfield, has been linked with Barcelona.

Liverpool, however, have decided to make their move for Thiago now with Manchester United also reportedly chasing the signature of the Spanish playmaker.

He would be Liverpool’s second signing of the summer transfer window and a more significant acquisition than that of Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas, who was bought to provide cover for Andy Robertson.

AFP

Liverpool Reach Agreement With Bayern Munich For Thiago Alcantara

Embattled Bayern Hunt Thiago Replacement
In this file photo taken on October 02, 2018 Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara walks at the field during the UEFA Champions League Group E football match between Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam in Munich, southern Germany. Christof STACHE / AFP

 

 

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed Thursday the club has agreed to a transfer with Liverpool for Spain midfielder Thiago Alcantara.

“I can confirm that FC Bayern have finally agreed with Liverpool FC,” Rummenigge told German daily Bild.

“It was Thiago’s big wish to once more do something new before the end of his career.”

It is understood Liverpool will pay an initial fee of £20 million ($26 million) for the player, who has one year remaining on his contract at European champions Bayern, with more to follow in add-ons.

Thiago, 29, was missing from Bayern Munich’s training session on Thursday, according to German media reports, having stalled over signing an extension with a year left on his current contract.

The Spain international joined Bayern from Barcelona in 2013 and played in last month’s Champions League final victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

It had been reported a potential move for Thiago was being held up by uncertainty over the future of Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Dutchman, who is in the final year of his contract at Anfield, has been linked with Barcelona.

Liverpool, however, have decided to make their move for Thiago now with Manchester United also reportedly chasing the signature of the Spanish playmaker.

He would be Liverpool’s second signing of the summer transfer window and a more significant acquisition than that of Greece left-back Kostas Tsimikas, who was bought to provide cover for Andy Robertson.

AFP

Bayern Munich Fight Hard To Keep Alaba, Thiago

David Alaba                                                        Thiago Alcantara

 

Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick says he is determined to keep defender David Alaba and midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who has been linked to a move to Liverpool.

“I will do everything I can to ensure that we can keep two such quality players,” said Flick after the Bundesliga champions completed the double with a 4-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the German Cup final on Saturday.

“I’m trying to keep the squad together as it is at the moment.”

Both Alaba, who scored the opening goal in Berlin, and Alcantara, a second-half replacement in the cup final, only have a year left on their contracts.

Alcantara, 29, is of particular concern as the Spanish media has linked him to a move to Liverpool, but Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says no offer has yet been received.

“We have negotiated with him seriously and granted all his wishes, but it looks like he wants to do something new at the end of his career,” Rummenigge told daily Bild.

However, Flick hopes to persuade Alcantara, who joined Bayern in 2013: “I’ll do my best to make sure he stays.

“You could see that he identifies 100 per cent with the club,” Flick added after the Spaniard enthusiastically took part in the cup final celebrations.

Flick also thinks Robert Lewandowski, the man-of-the-match after scoring twice in Berlin to leave him on 51 goals this season, is a Ballon d’Or candidate.

“When you see that he has scored 34 times in the league, it’s quite enough to make you think that a player from the Bundesliga could be world footballer of the year,” Flick said as Lewandowski was crowned German league top-scorer last weekend for the fifth time.

Bayern, who are chasing the treble, are among the favourites for the Champions League knock-out stages to be held in Lisbon next month.

AFP

Bayern Sweep Aside Besiktas To Reach Quarter-Finals

Bayern Munich’s German forward Thomas Mueller (C) shakes hands with Besiktas midfielder Necip Uysal (R) after the second leg of the last 16 UEFA Champions League football match between Besiktas and Bayern Munich at Besiktas Park in Istanbul on March 14, 2018. PHOTO: OZAN KOSE / AFP

 

A Thiago Alcantara strike and Sandro Wagner’s first Champions League goal capped Bayern Munich’s 3-1 win at Besiktas on Wednesday as the German giants cruised into the quarter-finals for the seventh year in a row.

Bayern completed a comprehensive 8-1 aggregate victory in Istanbul, having effectively clinched the last-16 tie following a 5-0 rout last month in the first leg in Munich.

For Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti in October, this was his 11th straight win in the Champions League which set a new competition record.

After Thiago fired home early on, an own goal by Besiktas right-back Gokhan Gonul put Bayern 2-0 up right at the start of the second half.

With their team 7-0 down overall, Besiktas finally came to life, grabbing a consolation goal by Vagner Love.

But Bayern notched their third of the evening when backup striker Sandro Wagner came off the bench to mark his Champions League debut with his first goal at this level.

Having resisted the urge to name a weakened team after their first-leg romp, Bayern wasted little time taking the lead against the Turkish champions.

Top scorer Robert Lewandowski surprisingly started up front, leaving Wagner waiting for his elite European debut until the last 20 minutes.

It was a surprise move by Heynckes with tough Bundesliga games against RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund to come this month.

Nevertheless, Lewandowski played until the 67th minute but failed to add to his 32 goals this season in all competitions.

Thiago, back after injury, celebrated his first Champions League goal since netting in the 3-0 win at home to Anderlecht last September.

With 18 minutes gone, Bayern captain Thomas Mueller swung in a cross and the Spain international thumped the ball home from close range.

After claiming Bayern’s 100th goal this season, Thiago was forced off on 35 minutes — attacking midfielder James Rodriguez replaced him as the Colombian made his return from a calf injury.

Mats Hummels, who along Jerome Boateng was booked in the first half, was replaced by Niklas Suele at the break before Bayern extended their lead thanks to a Besiktas own goal.

Right-back Rafinha whipped in a cross, but with the Besiktas defence focused on preventing the ball reaching the lurking Lewandowski, Gonul turned the ball into his own net.

Besiktas pulled a goal back on 59 minutes when David Alaba lost possession deep in his own half, allowing Gonul to supply Love who did just enough to roll the ball over the line.

Alaba atoned with a crucial block to deny Besiktas forward Mustafa Pektemek soon after, and the Austrian setup Wagner on 84 minutes as his deflected cross was chested over the line by the substitute.

AFP

Spain Team Focus On World Cup, Not Catalonia, Says Thiago

Bayern Munich’s Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Spain’s players are “focused” solely on Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Albania, Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara has insisted, adding that players were tired of being asked about teammate Gerard Pique’s outspoken stance on the independence referendum in Catalonia.

“As for Gerard we see him as he’s always been, with the same commitment as ever and the same happiness, even in the changing room,” said Thiago at a press conference with teammate Koke.

“We’re sorry because we came here to play football, I didn’t come here to talk about anybody’s life, Koke’s or mine, we came here to play football.”

Barcelona’s Pique has been an outspoken defender of the wealthy northeastern Spanish region’s right to self-determination, and on Sunday cast his vote in a referendum deemed illegal by Madrid that was scarred by clashes between voters and security forces.

And the player’s latest declarations have once again raised the debate over his role in the Spanish national team.

Despite playing a crucial part of the Spain sides that won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, Pique is routinely jeered when representing his country.

Those jeers intensified in front of just a few hundred fans at an opening training session on Monday amid chants of “Pique leave the national team!”

He has already stated his intent to retire from international football after next year’s World Cup, but insisted he could step aside sooner if Spain coach Julen Lopetegui or the federation believe his political stance to be problematic.

Thiago added: “It’s a pleasure to be in the squad, everyone is there on their sporting merits. We’re sorry to not be able to speak, to not be comfortable to speak about Albania or Israel which is the fundamental thing for us now.”

– ‘Everyone has own opinion’ –

Teammate Koke said he was “already tiring of the subject” of the referendum, clashes during which left more than 90 people injured, according to Catalan authorities.

“It’s always talking about the same thing,” the Atletico Madrid midfielder said. “But we’re professionals and we think about what we have to do, which is playing football.

“The changing room atmosphere has been the same as ever, we’re all focused on the important game against Albania, we want to win and all but seal our qualification” for next year’s World Cup in Russia, Koke said.

Thiago had the final word, saying: “We’ll talk amongst ourselves in the changing room, about our focus on having to be the best team, to be able to produce our best game. We’ll not speak about external things, each person has opinions.

“We’re here to speak about the team and to do the best we can to ensure our qualification for the World Cup. We’re all here pulling in the same direction to get ourselves qualified.”

Spain lead Group G of European qualifying by three points from Italy meaning one win from their final two games, against Albania and Israel, is likely to be enough to automatically qualify for next year’s showpiece thanks to their far superior goal difference over the Italians.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Barcelona on Tuesday, shouting “occupation forces out” and “the streets will always be ours” in protest at police violence during the referendum.

AFP

Robben, Thiago Back In Training For Bayern

Robben /Guenter Schiffmann / AFP

Bayern Munich received a timely boost on Tuesday when Thiago Alcantara, Arjen Robben, and Javi Martinez all returned to training ahead of Saturday’s Bundesliga match at Werder Bremen.

The trio sat out last Friday’s opening match of the season when the defending champions eased to a 3-1 win at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

Robben pulled up in training on Saturday with a thigh strain, while this was the first time Martinez and Thiago have trained this season.

Thiago is returning after a calf problem and stomach muscle injury, while Martinez missed the past two weeks with a leg injury, after breaking his collarbone towards the end of last season.

Germany defender Jerome Boateng and new signing James Rodriguez both trained separately as they continue their recovery from thigh injuries.

© AFP