First days at work are always scary, but most of the time things generally go according plan. Other times, they really don’t.
After coming off the bench at half time, Thiago Alcantara clipped Timo Werner’s heels and sent the German toppling to the ground.
The Spaniard looked up at referee Paul Tierney, who was resignedly pointing to the penalty spot. Oops, that’s not how you make a good impression is it?
This fairly major blip aside, Reds fans can take a great deal of encouragement from Thiago’s 45 minute cameo against Chelsea on Sunday.
Going into the game, there was a great deal of speculation about how Jurgen Klopp would deploy his new arrival. The former Bayern Munich man has been deployed as an advanced number 10, a shuttling number 8 and a deeper lying playmaker in his storied career. There was similar conjecture about how he would slot in with Liverpool’s other midfielders.
These questions can not be entirely answered on the evidence of just one half of football, however the Reds’ win against Chelsea did offer an inkling into what Thiago’s Anfield future may hold.
Replacing Jordan Henderson at half time, the 29-year-old spent the majority of the game as Liverpool’s deepest midfielder. Although Chelsea’s 10-man press was not exactly threatening, Thiago managed to control his side’s tempo supremely from just in front of the defence.
Keeping things ticking over is his specialty and the 75 passes he completed in the second half was not only more than any Blues player managed in the entire game, but also the most any player has completed in a 45 minute stint since Opta began collecting data during the 2003/2004 season.
Thiago did not only display his ability to control the game from deep. He also showed flashed of the incision and creativity that has earned him the reputation as one of the most dangerous playmakers on the planet.
On a different day, his sumptuous ball to the back post just after the hour mark would have been nodded in by Georginio Wijnaldum, while his fizzing shot towards the end of the game was another reminder of his attacking talents.
Thiago’s performance also comes with the caveat that he has only just linked up with his new teammates. Once Jurgen Klopp gets his hands on him on the training pitch, the possibilities are endless. The early signs are good. Good enough to suggests that Thiago’s arrival could be a rare example of a protracted transfer saga living up to the hype.