Liverpool were left tearing their hair out against Newcastle United on Wednesday night.
In a year that saw the Reds win their first-ever Premier League title, their final game of 2020 in England's top-flight ended on an uncharacteristically duff note with a 0-0 draw at St. James' Park.
The champions launched a siege against their north-east hosts for 90 minutes but try as they might, Steve Bruce's defensive approach was enough to muffle the waves of attacks from the hosts.
Newcastle 0-0 Liverpool
However, that doesn't mean that the Toon didn't need to rely upon some moments of individual brilliance with Karl Darlow reiterating his status as one of the Premier League's in-form goalkeepers.
Mohamed Salah saw a brilliant one-on-one opportunity denied by the out-stretched hand of the Newcastle shot-stopper, before denying Roberto Firmino's header as stoppage time loomed.
To Newcastle's credit, they also forced a brilliant save from Alisson Becker with the Liverpool number one doing well to preserve his clean sheet by denying Ciaran Clark in the 79th minute.
Thiago makes his return
However, if any team deserved to win, it was Liverpool and that was especially the case when they introduced Thiago Alcantara into the fold for the final 17 minutes.
It's the first time that Thiago took to the pitch in the Premier League since he was injured by Richarlison in the Merseyside derby, just his second game since leaving Bayern Munich.
So, you'd forgive the Spanish maestro for looking off the pace, especially as he's still adapting to English football, but that couldn't have been further from the truth.
Thiago's dazzling highlights
Despite having barely any time to assert his dominance on the game, Thiago launched a genuine campaign for being Liverpool's Man of the Match with one of the best cameos you'll see all year.
It was as though Thiago had reanimated Liverpool with his presence alone, oiling Jurgen Klopp's brand of football with a metronomic presence in the centre and stunning range of passing.
In fact, we'll let the video evidence do the talking because Thiago's two-minute highlight feel is nothing short of astonishing for someone on the pitch so briefly - check them out down below:
Let's all take 30 seconds to remember that Thiago came on in the 73rd minute... sheesh.
Reaction on Twitter
Few people put it better than The Athletic journalist James Pearce, who tweeted during the game: "The injection of class provided by Thiago has been ridiculous here."
While @rantsnbants tweeted: "The way Thiago just trots around in his black gloves he’s on a completely different level to everyone else on the pitch it’s frightening!"
A third fan penned: "Thiago has been our best player. He’s been on for 5 minutes."
While even a rival supported posted: "On a serious if Thiago stays fit Liverpool are levels up."
It's an emphatic reminder that Thiago is not only one of the best players in the Premier League, but one of the finest in the world and it's frightening to imagine what he can achieve at Anfield.
Besides, if the £43 million-rated master can shine like that with a mere cameo in a frustrating game, then just picture the damage he could exact when Liverpool are purring in front of a partisan Kop.News Now - Sport News