The commentator was just saying how comfortable Paris Saint-Germain were looking when it happened. “They are quite happy for Bayern to have the ball in their half,” he said. But it was at that precise moment that Thiago Alcantara weaved his magic, firing a crisp pass between the lines.

The ball was in the back of the net seconds later. The goal was enough to win the 2020 Champions League for Bayern Munich and while scorer Kingsley Coman was the official man of the match, the role of Thiago in the team’s triumph escaped absolutely no one.

At 29 and reluctant to sign a new contract, Bayern realised they might have to sell. Liverpool are now ready to pounce and it is easy to see why the move might appeal. Jurgen Klopp’s side can do almost anything. But they cannot do what Thiago can do.

“Liverpool’s squad is fine in most areas,” Jamie Carragher recently told Sky Sports. “But l think there are a couple of glaring areas where it should be better than it is.”

Cover for Andrew Robertson has already arrived. Attacking depth would help. But a midfield creator could be transformative. Naby Keita brings some of those qualities, albeit slightly further forwards, but think of that midfield and one still suspects industry is valued over invention.

It has hardly been a problem, whether it is Fabinho cracking one in from 30 yards or Jordan Henderson driving the team on to glory at home and abroad over the past 18 months. It has come to be seen as the Liverpool way. A decision to focus on the flanks. A style that works.

He is the Spanish pass master with Brazilian roots and a Barcelona upbringing. A man at home in the midfield hot house, seemingly born to work in those tight spaces. Continue reading

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