It’s a sign of the times in the North West that a player who’s started just seven Premier League matches all season for Liverpool would probably stroll into Manchester United’s starting XI without breaking sweat.
Is there a better back-up left-back in European football than Konstantinos Tsmikas?
Marcelo and Ben Chilwell might have something to say about that but, as Liverpool secured a place in the Champions League semi-finals for the third time in the last five seasons, Tsimikas showed yet again that, should Andy Robertson ever succumb to a long-term injury, Jurgen Klopp need not lose even a wink of sleep.
Like Fabinho, Joel Matip and Robertson too, the £11 million Greece international took his time to adapt to life at Anfield. But, now he’s got his feet firmly under the table, Tsimikas is proving that he’s not merely here to make up the numbers, his wonderful assists for Ibrahima Konate and Roberto Firmino the sweetest of glacier cherries on top of a very tasty cake.
He is, in the words, of Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian, ‘on fire‘ right now.
IS TSIMIKAS ABOUT TO BECOME A TOP-CLASS FULL-BACK?
With Robertson given the night off ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final clash vs Manchester City, the former Olympiakos flyer was handed a start in a much-changed XI when Benfica came to town. And, as the Reds saw off the Portuguese giants on home soil, Tsimikas’ latest all-action performance was rewarded in a rather fitting manner.
Last month, the 25-year-old expressed his disappointment about the lack of Tsimikas-themed chants from the Anfield terraces.
But, after hearing a chorus of Abba’s Gimme Gimme Gimme, the lyrics adapted to suit Liverpool’s new fans favourite, Tsimikas could afford himself a pat on the back and a knowing smile.
“I’m very, very happy for that! I hear (the chant) almost every day,” Tsimikas beams, via the Echo.
“These things as a player give you extra motivation and for me it was a very, very special moment when I heard it the first time.”
If things had worked out differently, Tsimikas might have been playing against Portuguese opposition in a European quarter-final not on Wednesday at Anfield but 24 hours later at Ibrox. According to Greek publication PageNews, Rangers expressed an interest in Tsimikas nine months before he put pen to paper on a long-term contract at Liverpool.
But on last night’s evidence – and with all due respect to the Europa League – there is no debating the fact that Tsimikas belongs on the biggest stage of all.