Thiago Alcantara’s Liverpool reaction has given Barcelona clear answer amid return links

Thiago Alcantara was forced to miss Liverpool’s Carabao Cup victory over Chelsea because of an injury but it underlines how much he wants to succeed at Anfield despite rumours of Barcelona wanting to sign him.

Caoimhin Kelleher’s stellar performance etched himself into Anfield folklore.

Fabinho’s Panenka penalty will be eulogised for years to come.

Every time Dua Lipa’s One Kiss is played, it will evoke vivid memories of that evening at Wembley when Liverpool claimed the Carabao Cup.

And Thiago Alcantara’s pre-match tears will also be synonymous when reflecting on the Reds’ defeat of Chelsea.

Cruel blow

The midfielder was inconsolable as the Premier League heavyweights prepared to do battle for the silverware.

He was due to play in his first final since arriving at the Reds in the summer of 2020.

Instead, Thiago was dealt the cruelest of blows during the warm-up.

A hamstring issue meant he knew he would play no part. There was no chance he could be risked and make his issue worse.

Thiago suffered an injury in the warm-up ahead of the Carabao Cup final. Picture: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

On the bench, Alisson Becker tried to comfort Thiago as best as he could.

In truth, it was futile. His tears couldn't be held back.

The former Bayern Munich midfielder was devastated to miss the game. He probably won't ever get over it.

Even if Liverpool do go on to achieve an unprecedented quadruple this season - and Thiago features prominently in the remaining three competitions - he'll always know that he was absent for one of the four legs.

Not that Kopites will care. If that indeed is the case, every single member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad will be ranked among the best Anfield has ever witnessed. Bar none.

But the disappointment and pain Thiago felt in the capital will likely never leave him.

As Klopp quite rightly pointed out when offering an injury update, Thiago has won virtually everything possible in his career.

The Carabao Cup is well down his list of achievements.

Let's be frank, as memorable as the day will be, no-one grows up dreaming about winning the competition.

League titles and the Champions League are what the vast majority covet.

Thiago’s CV boasts more than most.

He has four La Liga titles, seven Bundesliga crowns and two European Cups to his name.

Thiago Alcantara won the Champions League with Bayern Munich in 2020. Picture: MIGUEL A. LOPES/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Barca get their answer

So for Thiago react the way he did at Wembley underlines his desire to succeed at Anfield.

And it dismisses the tittle-tattle that a Barcelona return could be on the cards come the summer.

It was reported earlier this season by Sport that Barca boss Xavi is keen to bring Thiago back to the Nou Camp.

But even after his comments, some might have felt it was just lip service.

How he reacted to his latest Liverpool blow underlined he’s engrossed in the Anfield project, though.

Those were no crocodile tears running down Thiago's face. You can't fake that sort of emotion.

Midfield triumvirate

When he's fit and available, there's an argument that the Liverpool engine room has never been better during Klopp’s tenure.

He makes up a third of the Reds' strongest midfield alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

And in terms of that triumvirate, Thiago is the most influential.

In the Premier League this season, Liverpool average 2.67 points per game when he features. No-one in the squad who's made five appearances or more can brag such a figure.

Liverpool midfielders Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara. Picture: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s a chief reason why Klopp selects Thiago so frequently when he’s available.

The Italy-born midfielder will be more frustrated with the fitness problems he’s endured at Liverpool than anyone.

Per Transfermkrt, he has missed 42 matches for the Reds because of various complaints. That’s likely to increase to 44 after upcoming games against Norwich and West Ham.

For that reason, it’s fathomable why some supporters would be happy to offload him if the right offer was made.

Yet if Thiago can remain unscathed once he's over his latest issue, it will boost the Reds' ambitions markedly for the rest of the term.

Following Liverpool's Wembley triumph, Thiago joined in with the jubilant celebrations - and seemingly had come to terms with his setback.

But he'll yearn hoisting silverware aloft after playing his part on the pitch.

With more than two years remaining on his contract, there's plenty of time to do so.