Thiago Alcantara joined Liverpool in 2020 as a star signing, but was hit by a wave of unfortunate circumstances - the lack of a proper pre-season with the club, contracting COVID-19, and then picking up an injury during the Merseyside Derby that also saw Virgil Van Dijk knocked out for the season.
And while he got close to full fitness, he played through some pain all of last season, as he admitted in an interview with liverpoolfc.com.
“The last season I started with – from a long time before that – some pain up there in the hamstring, between the glutes, old pain. I was never clean to play because I was always with that pain and there’s a point during the end of the last season that I started to feel [it] more and more”, he said.
“And with the national team, even I couldn’t sprint in some terms, I couldn’t do some actions. So I try to start the pre-season, always in agreement with the medical team, to [do] individual work to clean the area a bit more and to be without more pain. So we are at that point now that we try to take it out and, at the same point, to stay with the team.”
His carefully planned routine is reaping results, since he is nearing his desired match fitness one day at a time.
“We have 24 hours to work individually. So while the team was training in the morning, I was doing my individual training. While the team was resting, I was doing my individual training. So, I have enough time to get fit. The season is so long now and there is some point in my life that I have to be a bit selfish to say, ‘OK, stop a bit and be as fit as you can [be] for yourself as well but for your team.’ I’m at that point – getting near 100 per cent to bring back all the action for the team.”
An experience he is looking forward to next is playing in front of a full Anfield stadium.
“I was able to play for them in the last game of the season. It was not a full stadium but it was good enough to taste what Anfield is, the energy that the crowd gives to us”, he said.