Liverpool already knows wildcard candidate as Arne Slot seeks more backroom team appointments

Arne Slot during a Liverpool training session.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The first group of Liverpool players might have begun to come back for pre-season training but with the European Championship and Copa America still ongoing, it will be some time yet before Arne Slot gets to know the full contingent that he inherits at his new side.

But it is not just the playing staff that are still going to be coming together across the course of the next few weeks as stars return from holidays and transfers take place. Among Slot's coaching team, there are still some important appointments to be made.

The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool is considering hiring the former Everton center-back John Heitinga to Slot's staff. He had been working under David Moyes at West Ham United and is highly regarded.

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Meanwhile, former Manchester City coach Aaron Briggs is set to join the Reds as a replacement for Vitor Matos. Briggs has an excellent CV and his role will include helping the best young talents in Kirkby move up to the first-team the same position that Pep Lijnders held before he stepped up to become Jurgen Klopp's assistant.

A set-piece coach is being sought after Liverpool advertised for that role on LinkedIn. But there should be room for another wildcard appointment behind the scenes too.

Liverpool never saw the best from Thiago Alcantara as a player. He was limited to just a five-minute cameo against Arsenal last season and has since retired. While the next steps for the Spaniard are yet to become clear, there is an obvious next step for him to take.

Like Xabi Alonso, it just feels inevitable that Thiago would make a good coach. He was a thoughtful and technically world-class footballer whose brain was clearly a mile ahead of the rest, even if his body didn't always allow him to show that.

Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool during the first day back for pre-season at AXA Training Centre on July 08, 2023 in Kirkby, England.

It is no coincidence that many of the best coaches in the world were previously deep-lying midfielders during their playing days the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mikel Arteta who had the game laid out in front of them for their passing ability to dictate. Thiago falls into the same category.

He has played for Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Liverpool, under Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Klopp, and collected 46 caps for Spain in the process. That is no guarantee of success as a coach, of course, but it is a good start — and there are plenty of lessons he could pass on.

After the news emerged on Sunday that Thiago had retired from playing, it has been reported by Gerard Romero that Hansi Flick, who also coached him at Bayern Munich, would ask the 33-year-old to join his Barcelona coaching staff. Eloquent, multi-lingual, and clearly a very intelligent personality, it makes perfect sense. But it also would for there to be a similar role for Thiago at Anfield.

It might be that Thiago and his wife want to move to Barcelona, but their third child was born on Merseyside and the family has enjoyed spending time in the city. Part of the reason for signing Thiago in the first place must have been his experience as well as his quality. While Liverpool never saw the best of him on the field often enough, as a coach, he could yet have plenty to give.