Could injuries hamper Thiago’s Liverpool career?

David Lynch
  • David Lynch
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 3 min read
David Lynch Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST 3 min read
Could injuries hamper Thiago’s Liverpool career?

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Thiago Alcantara will miss Liverpool’s visit to title rivals Manchester City on Sunday due to injury.

The Spaniard has only managed one-and-a-half games since signing for the Reds, making his debut as a half-time substitute at Chelsea and playing the entirety of the Merseyside derby draw with Everton.

However, a late challenge from Richarlison in the latter fixture means he hasn’t been seen since, despite initially returning to light training last week.

Asked about the midfielder’s fitness on Friday, Klopp said: “With Thiago, it’s an injury but doesn’t need a surgery, all these kind of things but still takes time.

“The challenge that day was a harsh one and directly against the leg, so still adapting but improving. It will not be too long anymore but for this game I don’t think he will be in.”

Liverpool fans are starting to become concerned that Klopp won’t be able to rely on player whose fitness record was already considered questionable prior to his move to Anfield.

But is that reputation entirely fair?

SeasonInjuries sufferedMinutes% of total mins played
2013-14MCL knee injury99933%
2014-15MCL knee injury2819%
2015-16Ligament injury163753%
2016-17Hamstring/knocks229175%
2017-18Muscle injury124241%
2018-19Ankle ligament240779%
2019-20Groin injury177258%

The most serious fitness issues of Thiago’s career came during his first two seasons in Munich.

The 29-year-old missed over a year of football spanning across the 2013-14 and 14-15 seasons due to a serious knee injury, featuring in just 33% and 9% of available Bundesliga minutes respectively in those campaigns.

Things began to improve from there. Thiago missed just six games in 2015-16 due to a ligament injury and the flu, ending the season with 53% of possible league minutes played.

In 2016-17, the Spain international played 75% of the available minutes as he missed just five games through a combination of knocks and muscle issues.

The following campaign saw him sustain a particularly severe muscle problem that resulted in a 13-game absence, while further niggles meant he was able to feature in just 41% of the Bundesliga action that season.

However, that was followed by a 2018-19 season that saw Thiago pick up a career-best 79% of available playing time, despite an ankle ligament injury that kept him out of five games.

Last term, the former Barcelona man struggled with a groin problem, but still picked up 58% of Bayern’s Bundesliga minutes and played a key role in their Champions League success.

While Thiago does have previous for suffering minor setbacks as seasons progress, his injury record is perhaps not quite as bad as those first two years in Munich make it seem.

Over the last five campaigns, he was involved in 61% of Bayern’s minutes on average, a fact that suggests that he is still more than capable of playing an important role despite occasional absences.

It is also worth noting that the Spain international has been somewhat unfortunate during his short time at Liverpool in that his susceptibility to injury cannot be blamed for a positive Covid-19 test and what was a shocking challenge from Richarlison.

Klopp is hoping to see his No.6 back in action after the international break – perhaps then his Reds career can truly get under way.