Liverpool: 7 potential Thiago replacements as star ruled out with injury

Liverpool have confirmed that Thiago Alcantara’s hamstring injury will likely rule him out for six weeks of action.

It’s a hammer-blow to the club after their disappointing 2-2 opening day draw away at Fulham.

Jurgen Klopp would have wanted all hands on deck over the coming weeks to ensure they reel off successive victories and thereby don’t lose anymore ground in this year’s title race.

And in Thiago, they’ve lost arguably their most influential midfielder of the lot.

That’s what the stats suggest at least, given Liverpool dropped points in just 10 Premier League games last season, eight of which, Thiago wasn’t available for.

It’s a fact that highlights why it’s so important that the club’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, loosen their purse strings before the end of the summer transfer window and bring in some added quality in that department.

Thiago Liverpool FC

Especially as it’s not only Thiago that’s unavailable – Curtis Jones and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain represent longer- term absentees – whilst Naby Keita has only just returned to training and, like Thiago, often finds himself in treatment room more than he should.

Klopp doesn’t want to waste money on a short-term solution – fair enough – but why wait until next season to sign Jude Bellingham? Or why not consider some of the other world class options out there right now?

We’ve picked out seven leading central midfielders across Europe that the Reds could look to sign, right in the here and now.

Seven potential Liverpool midfield targets

Frenkie de Jong

Imagine the scenes… Liverpool swoop in for Man Utd’s top summer target at the last minute after already nicking Darwin Nunez away from Erik ten Hag’s grasp – brutal.

But it would be a wise move because De Jong’s a classy operator and a player that would prove a serious upgrade on Liverpool’s existing options in the middle of the park.

United had reportedly agreed a £63 million fee with Barcelona for his services last month, however it was a lack of Champions League football which gave De Jong cold feet.

That wouldn’t be an issue with Liverpool and the fee seems comparatively cheap for such a good player.

De Jong Barcelona

Nicolo Barella

Barella is a star at Inter Milan so would come at a big price, but if his Euro 2020 performances are anything to go by, the 25-year-old has the potential to become one of Europe’s best.

What makes him so good is his all-round ability. Much like Steven Gerrard, there’s no facet to his game which you’d identify as a big weakness.

And we know Jurgen Klopp’s an admirer after previously describing him as a “world class” star.

Nicolo Barella

Jude Bellingham

Let’s get to the obvious then. Bellingham’s links to Liverpool have been far more frequent than any other club throughout the last year.

He’s best pals with Jordan Henderson at England. But more importantly, he’s a 19-year-old sensation that’s been bossing it in a foreign division for one of the world’s most reputable clubs.

Why wait until next summer – like most reports have been suggesting recently – when you could go and get him right this instant?

Jude Bellingham Borussia Dortmund

Youri Tielemans

The talented Belgian was widely expected to become an Arsenal player this summer but the move didn’t materialise.

That could be to Liverpool’s benefit given Tielemans has less than a year remaining on his existing deal with Leicester, so one would imagine the Foxes would be more than tempted to cash in on him.

Still aged 25, he has plenty of room to grow under the guidance of Klopp and other key figures at the club and would no doubt be the most financially efficient option of the lot.

Youri Tielemans

Matheus Nunes

Portugal is a market Liverpool have grown fond of shopping in recently. In the last 12 months alone they’ve picked up Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez from the nation’s first-division for hefty fees.

And with Nunes being managed by the same agency as Diogo Jota, their strong working relationship with company could help increase the likelihood of a deal materialising.

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Gavi

Admittedly, it would be difficult to pull a player of Gavi’s talent away from the Blaugrana, but there are a couple of factors which could aid Liverpool’s cause in signing the teenage sensation.

The main one is, of course, Barca’s hideously bad financial situation.

If they can’t shift De Jong then could cashing on Gavi be an option?

Gavi’s contract expires in June 2023 and, although Barca are keen to renew, who knows if they’ll even be able to afford him at this rate…

Gavi

Marco Verratti

Now this would be some transfer. Verratti has been dominating in France with Paris Saint-Germain for the best part of a decade now and he impresses whenever he plays in the Champions League, too.

Aged 29, he’s entering the peak of his powers for a central midfielder and to see him in the Premier League would be something we’re sure everyone could get behind.

Premier League quiz:

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Who’s this Premier League icon from the 2000s?

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