Liverpool already know Thiago return could change season

There have been two contrasting stories for Liverpool’s marquee summer signings so far.

On one hand, Diogo Jota has started life at Anfield like a man possessed.

The versatile frontman is second behind only Mohamed Salah in the goalscoring stakes, with his nine strikes already firing the Reds to crucial victories in both the Premier League and Champions League.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers star has transitioned seamlessly into the Liverpool team, handling the often intense and overwhelming expectations with minimum fuss.

Inside three months of his career on Merseyside, the £45million man has lit the bonfire for the debate on what constitutes Jurgen Klopp’s best attack.

Considering the scale of that task prior to his mid-September arrival, that is some achievement.

Now a fully-fledged Portuguese international with three goals in his eight caps to date, the forward has this week been speaking about learning from none other than the great Cristiano Ronaldo.

“As Portuguese guys, we always looked upon him as our main reference,” Jota says of Portugal icon, Ronaldo.

That can only be beneficial going forward as he continues to learn his trade at the elite level.

The visit from his former club Wolves this week gives him the ideal chance to write another exciting page to what has been a thrilling opening chapter of his Liverpool story.

Having turned 24 on Friday, Jota is now entering the phase of his career where potential can be realised.

Being just a few months into a five-year contract, Reds fans will be able to witness his golden period as they prepare to return to Anfield for the first time in nine months on Sunday.

On the other hand, Thiago Alcantara remains stuck in the traps with no sign of being released until the New Year at the earliest.

It is perhaps no hyperbole to say the two-time Champions League winner arrived as one of the biggest-name players to have ever joined Liverpool.

The club’s long-established culture of creating stars as opposed to signing them meant that the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona midfielder could lay claim to such an assertion.

Certainly in the Premier League era, at least.

But despite his obvious class, the Spain international remains grounded, unable to make a telling contribution in his fledgling days.

The final whistle at Brighton last Saturday brought about a quiet demotion for Thiago too.

His 135 minutes played so far means he rests at the foot of the table for Liverpool’s entire outfield squad.

That the likes of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips stand ahead of the 29-year-old in that list nearly three months after he signed tells you a lot about how strange this campaign has been for Klopp and his players.

In total Thiago has sat out a total of 14 games in his two-and-a-half months as a Liverpool player.

Matches against Lincoln City and Arsenal in the Carabao Cup he would have missed had he been fully fit anyway, but it still paints an unflattering…

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