When Thiago Alcantara walks out at Anfield for the first time as a Liverpool player, it will actually mark his third visit to the stadium for a fixture.
The Reds’ new signing was, of course, a member of the Bayern Munich side that clinched a 0-0 draw on Merseyside in the Champions League last-16, first-leg tie in February 2019.
He would line up again against Jürgen Klopp’s men in the return meeting in Germany, in which his team were beaten 3-1 as Liverpool went on to be crowned European champions.
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However, Thiago’s first-ever Anfield experience came some 21 or so years earlier.
On that occasion, he was a spectator as his father – Brazilian World Cup winner Mazinho – was representing Celta Vigo in a UEFA Cup third-round, second-leg encounter against a Liverpool side that included a first-ever home start for Steven Gerrard.
That fixture in December 1998 resulted with the Reds being eliminated from the competition with a 1-0 loss.
“Well, it was my second time here,” Thiago reflected on his appearance for Bayern in L4. “But the first time I was here when I was five or six years old, I think.
“My dad played against Liverpool with Celta Vigo. I think it was, at that time, it was the UEFA Cup.
“My second time was a draw here; we didn’t plan to defend as much as we defended because we hated just to defend a whole game, but they were stronger than us and we had to adapt. The second game was amazing [to play here].”
He added: “I was never a fan of many clubs, I was just a fan of football. But I was surprised with the people here, how they live football and it was really a shock for me.”
Thiago’s transfer from Bayern to Liverpool was concluded on Friday afternoon, with the 29-year-old signing a long-term deal.
“I am excited not just to wait to play here, but also to train with my teammates, to get to know the coach and what he wants, how the team plays,” said the Reds’ new No.6.
“I want to help the guys if I can help them to be even better than they are, and I can be better than I am. It would be so nice and I hope for that.”