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Thiago Alcantara and Diogo Jota transfers help make a vital Liverpool change – Paul Gorst

Whoever said that a week is a long time in politics probably never worked in football.

Seven days ago, Liverpool trudged out of an empty Anfield having eked out the nerviest of wins against a newly-promoted side in Leeds United.

The questions, they raged.

Defensive issues lingered, players needed signing and Liverpool’s title would be short lived if this performance became the norm.

Incoming transfers seemed further away than ever and the Reds would need another superhuman effort free of injury to key men to get anywhere close to the heights they scaled as recently as July.

So went one particularly negative school of thought, at least. Then, it all changed.

Monday came and Liverpool and Bayern Munich finally – belatedly, in the eyes of many – picked up the phone to talk about a certain Thiago Alcantara.

After months of intense speculation that whipped up a frenzied fanbase, the English champions eventually spoke to their German counterparts and a deal was thrashed out.

Bayern made it clear that they wanted a swift resolution to proceedings and aimed to have terms signed, sealed and delivered before the defence of the Bundesliga title got underway on Friday night.

A fee of £20million with a further £5m in add-ons was agreed as the Reds closed in on a statement signing for the new decade.

By Friday morning, Thiago was on Merseyside, undergoing a routine medical and performing in-house media duties later that afternoon.

By 4pm, Liverpool had sealed their most high-profile signing of the Premier League era.

The initial £20m sum is the same the Reds paid for Stewart Downing in 2011, but Thiago’s worldwide reputation marks the 29-year-old’s transfer as a genuinely groundbreaking one at Anfield.

A two-time Champions League winner at the peak of his powers, that Thiago’s only other previous clubs have been Barcelona and Bayern Munich is iron-clad proof of his midfield alchemy.

His undoubted pedigree will add a new dimension to Liverpool’s midfield next season. That is a theory Jurgen Klopp has certainly signed up to.

“It’s pretty simple, he is – and nobody would see it in a different way – an absolutely exceptional player,” was Klopp’s assessment on Friday.

There was a further layer of agreeable news for Liverpool supporters to enjoy with the knowledge that the start of Thiago’s Anfield career did not mean the end of Gini Wijnaldum’s.

With both players inside the final years of their deals, many had assumed Thiago’s signature would see Wijnaldum dispatched to Barcelona, where his former national coach, Ronald Koeman, still lurks with interest.

Thiago Alcantara signs for Liverpool

That, however, is not the case, leaving supporters free to enjoy both players’ talents at Anfield for the season ahead as things stand.

Supporters were still toasting Thiago’s transfer when news of Diogo Jota’s five-year deal was confirmed.

A £41million arrival from Wolves places the 23-year-old inside the top four of the most expensive in Liverpool history, behind Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker and Naby Keita, who all joined during that record-breaking year of 2018.

The move for Jota is a timely one given the ongoing complaints over the lack of dependable and quality backup for a front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Some have accused Liverpool’s frontline of seeing too much of a drop-off in quality whenever one of those feted trio are absent.

The addition of the versatile Wolves star will go some way towards those concerns falling silent between now and the end of the campaign.

Thiago is a red!

A £20m+ deal has brought the midfielder to Anfield, and he’s ready to kick on for Jurgen Klopp.

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Liverpool now head to Chelsea with a spring in their step and their squad significantly boosted. Their efforts to bring home league title No.20 have greatly improved.

Three points at Stamford Bridge will only further the convictions of those who believe the signings of Thiago and Jota make the champions the undoubted favourites to retain their crown.

There promises to be many twists, turns and bumps in the road between now and May 23, but Liverpool’s chances of more glory are better than they were last Saturday.

The collective mood has been altered and the feelgood factor that ducked out of view is now back.

Back in a big way.

What a difference a week makes.

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