Neil Humphreys: Klopp has struck transfer gold again
Thiago adds a new dimension to brilliant Reds
The bear hug said it best. Juergen Klopp almost pummelled the poor man's ribs.
The joy was unmistakable and entirely understandable. Liverpool's beaming manager had signed another winner and he knew it.
For other clubs, Thiago Alcantara was the one that got away. Manchester United had tracked the Spanish midfielder. Chelsea's name had also been mentioned.
But Thiago had eyes for only the man behind the bear hug (an unpalatable reality for both Chelsea and especially United to ponder. Klopp remains the greatest magnet for mavericks).
Taken at face value, Thiago and Klopp are not an obvious, ideological fit. Klopp believes in width, speed and tireless pressing. Thiago is a poster boy for deep-lying, deep-thinking midfielders.
But it would be foolish to take anything Klopp does at face value.
While rivals seek to emulate his Plan A, Klopp has already signed a Plan B and offered a sneak peek in the second half of the 2-0 win against Chelsea.
Obviously, the conditions were ideal. Chelsea were a man down, literally, in the case of Andreas Christensen's red card and a second man down, psychologically, in the case of Kepa Arrizabalaga's broken spirit.
So Klopp unleashed the beauty and offered a glimpse of the future with the time-travelling Thiago. The Spaniard played like the ghosts of EPL midfielders past, both at Anfield and Old Trafford.
Subtle shades of Philippe Coutinho and Xabi Alonso were enough to get Liverpool hearts fluttering, just as those distinct echoes of Paul Scholes must have got United's blood boiling.
Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly had the promising kid at Barcelona down as a long-term replacement for Scholes and passed Thiago's name to David Moyes. But Moyes signed Marouane Fellaini instead.
Thiago went on to orchestrate those glorious midfields of Bayern Munich, winning every trophy available. Fellaini went on to be the face of a thousand memes.
Thiago's exhibition at Stamford Bridge had to exasperate United followers with a keen sense of history and tradition. He looked a lot like how midfielders at Old Trafford once looked.
His 75 completed passes in 45 minutes were the most in a single half of football since records began in 2003-2004 and more than any Chelsea player managed in the entire game.
But the modern obsession with statistics almost misses the point, like focusing on the number of paintbrushes used to colour a masterpiece.
Thiago strolled around like an inquisitive meerkat, with head up and neck craned, waiting for the play to match the picture already painted in his mind.
Intriguingly, inside an empty stadium, his voice could be heard shouting at teammates, demanding runs and passes from experienced serial winners at Liverpool.
At a stroke, Thiago provided a round peg for a round hole that arguably didn't exist. Klopp has fixed something that wasn't broken.
With his front three characteristically terrific against Chelsea, Klopp already has the pace, tenacity and physicality to decimate opponents foolish enough to play Liverpool on their own terms.
But Thiago offers an outlet against teams that indulge in rope-a-dope tactics, defending deeply and blocking off Liverpool's relentless wide men.
In such circumstances, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum are magnificent enforcers, constantly winning back possession and urging teammates forward.
But Thiago's clever pickpocketing skills give him a lovely, Dickensian slyness. He thrives in the smallest pockets. His crisp, one-touch passing finds the tiniest spaces, as demonstrated in the build-up for Liverpool's opener.
No one is getting overly carried away after a routine victory against a transitional side with rusty signings and a shattered goalkeeper, but Thiago has asserted credentials that were already established at Barcelona and Bayern.
MASTER OF THE MARKET
And Klopp has reasserted his credentials of being a master of the transfer market.
His rivals must be privately seething over his latest coup (and if they're not, then they really should be).
Throughout the summer, the German cultivated his "man of the people" persona, reiterating Liverpool's inability to out-spend clubs owned by oligarchs and making his billionaire employers seem like bowl-clutching paupers.
And all the while, he was secretly pulling off one of the steals of the summer.
Klopp has signed a 29-year-old at the peak of his midfield powers for peanuts, whilst adding a new dimension to the Reds' attacking game and a possible Plan B against particularly obdurate opponents.
No wonder he was beaming during their post-match bear hug.
Liverpool's rivals were already playing catch up. After Thiago's debut, the gap just got wider.