Liverpool were dealt a big body blow when news of Thiago Alcantara‘s latest injury filtered in like water through a leaky ceiling.
What’s the latest on Thiago’s injury?
Indeed, it was reported earlier this week that the Spanish maestro is set to face a spell on the sidelines; and while sources close to the situation were hesitant to provide an exact timeframe, the 31-year-old is expected to miss around four weeks of competitive action.
Fears that the club’s woeful recent fortunes would be compounded by the setback were eased when Jurgen Klopp oversaw his maiden Premier League victory of 2023, with Merseyside rivals Everton defeated 2-0 at Anfield.
While the superlative passing proficiency of Thiago cannot be easily emulated, Arthur Melo could finally make a marked impact on Liverpool’s endeavours over the next month.
Could Arthur really step up to the plate?
Liverpool attempted to sign Aurelien Tchouameni last summer before the prodigious midfielder’s £85.3m move from AS Monaco to Real Madrid, but there didn’t quite appear to be a contingency plan in place, with no further deals overtly pursued. Ultimately, Arthur – who was plagued by injury issues last season – joined the Reds on loan on deadline day.
The season’s perils have been well-documented, with a lack of control and an inability to effectively protect the defence cited as the overarching reasons behind Liverpool’s decline.
The Reds are out of both domestic cup competitions, having won both in 2022, and currently languish in ninth place in the top flight, nine points behind Saturday’s opponents Newcastle United in fourth, albeit with a game in hand.
Should Arthur start in Thiago’s absence?
While Arthur has himself been riddled with fitness problems this season, missing 23 games due to injury and playing just 13 minutes of senior action as a result, he is reportedly on the cusp of a timely comeback and could make a profound impact on a Liverpool team crying out for an added dimension.
Renowned as a fine technician and once hailed as “extraordinary” by Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri, the 26-year-old has notably won La Liga with Barcelona and the Coppa Italia with Juventus. He has fallen from prominence dramatically over the past few seasons, though, starting just 11 Serie A matches for the Bianconeri in 2021/22.
However, as per FBref, the £110k-per-week ace ranks among the top 6% of midfielders across Europe’s big five leagues for passes attempted and the top 4% for pass completion, indeed illustrating the composure and assurance that he would provide to Klopp’s system in Thiago’s stead.
Comparatively, the distinguished Spaniard ranks among the top 2% for passes attempted, top 9% for pass completion and top 1% for progressive passes, also emphasising his dynamic and robust skill set by ranking inside the top 8% for tackles and 15% for shot-creating actions.
There is no question that the 31-year-old is the superior option when looking at these figures, but considering the resemblance between the two players, with the additional knowledge that Liverpool returned to winning ways on Monday night despite Thiago’s absence, Arthur could well be the shining light for the Reds.
As such, his ball-playing prowess of represents the perfect remedy for Liverpool’s latest injury blow, and while he is certainly rusty and unproven in Premier League terms, the Brazilian maestro – who once signed for Juventus for £72.5m – could leave his previous woes behind and ensure that the Reds now cast aside the cobwebs of their recent turmoil and forge a path back to prominence.