Paul Merson has named Liverpool star Thiago Alcantara as the second best midfielder in the Premier League.
The pundit named his top five midfielders in his latest article on Sportskeeda.
Thiago has become absolutely essential for Liverpool, who now look almost lost without him.
His importance to the Reds was outlined in their last match, the 2-1 win over Ajax in the Champions League.
The 31-year-old was making his first start following a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a month.
And Thiago played an instrumental role as Liverpool made amends for their loss at Napoli.
“Excellent return to action for the Spaniard,” wrote the Liverpool Echo at the time.
“Footwork, passing and drive underpinned the Reds’ showing and maintained good level regardless of position.”
“I’m such a big fan of him”
Merson believes Thiago is a “world-class” player and second only to Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne.
“Thiago Alcantara is an unbelievable footballer, he’s a class act,” he wrote.
“When he doesn’t play, Liverpool are a completely and utterly different team and we’ve seen that a handful of times already this season.
“When he first joined, there was a lot of talk that he slowed Liverpool down a little, but after he adapted to the pace of the Premier League, there’s been no stopping him!
“I just like the way he plays and moves – he’s always looking forward and is more than comfortable with playing one-touch football when the situation calls for it.
“I like players who see things on the football pitch before they happen and he’s one of them, which is why I’m such a big fan of him.
“People might be a bit surprised with Thiago’s inclusion at #2, but this is how I see the game and I genuinely believe that this guy is a special player.
“We’re talking about a world-class player who makes such a huge difference to a team like Liverpool – we saw it first-hand against Ajax when he started the game and absolutely ran the show for his team.
“These lists are obviously very subjective and could change every week, but Thiago is a player I’ve always rated over the years.”