Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hailed the signing of Thiago Alcantara by Liverpool ahead of the two clubs clashing on Monday in the Premier League.
Liverpool signed Thiago from Bayern Munich earlier this month for a reported fee of £20m from the German champions. The midfielder made his debut for Liverpool last weekend as he came off the bench in the 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by The Mirror, Arteta reacted to the signing. “Yes, I think he is a great signing for Liverpool.
“Incredible personality, great talent, very special, great qualities to play in midfield.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
With Jordan Henderson being ruled out through injury, Thiago could come in to make his full debut against Arteta’s Arsenal team on Monday. Henderson and Matip are both set to miss the clash after picking up knocks in recent weeks.
Arteta’s comments seem to suggest that he knows the midfielder well, so Thiago starting for Liverpool is unlikely to give them any sort of surprise advantage against the Gunners. The Spanish boss appears to rate Thiago very highly, which could also suggest that he will pay close attention to him on Monday – perhaps detailing one of his players to stay tight to him at all time.
Granit Xhaka could be given the task of closing down Thiago whilst he is in possession in order to limit him spreading the ball and beginning Liverpool attacks. If Thiago tries to dictate the play and move Arsenal about, Arteta could get Xhaka – or another midfielder – to constantly close him down and put pressure on him. So, Thiago could need to be at his best to evade the press and shift the ball on to Liverpool’s attackers to penetrate the Arsenal defence.