By Noel Whelan

12th Sep, 2022 | 2:04pm

Pundit issues 'huge' Thiago Alcantara claim after early Liverpool team news

Noel Whelan has claimed Thiago Alcantara could transform the fortunes of Liverpool after their problematic start to the new campaign.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 31-year-old was a “huge miss” for Jurgen Klopp’s side during his injury absence.

Thiago returned to action in the 4-1 Champions League loss at Napoli last week (7 September) – playing 27 minutes from the substitutes’ bench.

The Spain international had not featured for the Merseysiders since the opening day draw against Fulham – when he was substituted early in the second half.

Liverpool have struggled in the midfielder’s absence – winning just two of their last five league outings.

The Reds face Ajax on Tuesday (13 September) in their second Champions League group game.

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Whelan insisted the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich star “makes things tick for Liverpool”.

He told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “If there’s one player in that midfield who makes a difference – it’s Thiago.

“His experience, his vision, his weight and range of passing – he makes things tick for Liverpool.

“He’s a huge part and a huge miss for them. It was good to see him back against Napoli, even if the game had already gone.

“This is a big plus for Liverpool. He’s someone who can lead the way and change the game himself with a pass.

“He is someone who can turn things around for them and make sure they are keeping up that tempo if it is to drop.”

In other news, medical insider cites “career-threatening” injury after update on Liverpool star Fabio Carvalho.