Thiago Alcântara scored a rare Liverpool second goal against Southampton on Saturday, securing the victory and opening his Liverpool account.
Though it’s only his first goal in a Liverpool shirt, he’s not known for his goal output: he scored three for Bayern Munich last season (in 3,376 total minutes for the German champions, 1,428 minutes more than his present total for the Reds).
His celebration was heartening, however, as it pointed directly at what’s to come.
Though he celebrated with his teammates on the pitch, he did so while running to the home dugout and pointing at the lads in the stands unable to play.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com post-match, the Spaniard spelled out the reasons behind his celebration.
“For sure I have a special relationship with the guys there that didn’t play.
“When you are playing you always think about them, how they work and how they behave even when they don’t play, so the goal was for them.”
As you may have noticed, there have been debates about Thiago’s form and impact on this Liverpool side in recent times, but certainly everyone involved looks forward to seeing the Champions League and Bundasliga winner playing alongside Liverpool’s first choice team.
While we cannot fault the effort level of the players involved this season — particularly given that so many are putting in more minutes than they likely anticipated amidst a packed season — we can nonetheless look forward to the return of the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez, and Jordan Henderson, along with the stability in defense and smart ball distribution that they will bring.
I acknowledge that the “he’s like a new signing” cliché for players returning from injury is a bit tired at this point, but there’s no denying that injuries have made Liverpool’s 2020/21 seem more like siege warfare and putting out fires than a team with a clear plan of attack.
There will certainly be loads of chatter around Liverpool’s potential transfer business this summer, but we should not forget the lads Thiago celebrated with on Saturday: it will be wonderful, too, to see the likes of Thiago and Diogo Jota playing in the team they were brought in to play with.