Liverpool would be top of the Premier League if they had been able to call on this player all season
Jamie Vardy and Kalvin Phillips have been key misses for their sides in 2021/22 but the repeated absences of Thiago could end up costing the Reds the title.
Only weeks after recovering from a hamstring injury which ruled him out in January and February, Leicester's Jamie Vardy has been sidelined by a knee issue.
Vardy picked up the problem in the 1-0 Premier League win over Leeds and his absence will be a huge blow for the Foxes who have fared far better with the striker than without him this campaign.
However, Vardy is not the only key player to have been missed by their side this season. Planet Sport picks out six players their teams just can't do without - including a surprise name at Liverpool.
Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool)
Amid a sea of Manchester City stars at the top of the Premier League's points per game charts is a sole Liverpool player.
Thiago has missed 12 Reds games this season through a combination of hip, calf and thigh injuries and a bout of Covid-19. Jurgen Klopp's side have only lost one of those games but five draws have seen their points per game dip to 1.92. Not too shabby but top-four rather than title-winning form.
With the 30-year-old in their ranks, Liverpool have won 13 and drawn one of their 15 games.
That gives Thiago a points per game average of 2.67, the highest in the division ahead of Ilkay Gundogan (2.6).
And it's clear to see what the Spain international brings to the Liverpool team when you delve further into the stats.
While their goal output is pretty similar with or without him in the side (2.66 with, 2.58 without), their defensive record is far superior when he plays. In the 12 games he has missed they have conceded 13 times, while in the 15 games he has played they have let in just seven.
PPG with Thiago: 2.67
PPG without Thiago: 1.92
Angelo Ogbonna (West Ham)
Despite the 33-year-old being in the latter stages of his career his experience and cool head are what binds West Ham's defence together. The Italian has been a huge miss this season.
PPG with Ogbonna: 2.1
PPG without Ogbonna: 1.3
Jamie Vardy (Leicester)
Vardy has scored ten during that sequence but surprisingly it is not goals Leicester are missing in his absence - they actually average more goals per game without Vardy, 1.86 as opposed to 1.5. The Foxes are, in fact, much more open when shorn of Vardy, letting in 2.29 goals per game compared to 1.5 with him.
PPG with Vardy: 1.56
PPG without Vardy: 0.71
Ismaila Sarr (Watford)
Watford are struggling but what is patently clear is that they would be down and out without Sarr's contributions to the cause, including his five goals.
The Hornets' 4-1 thrashing of Manchester United in November was marred by an injury to Sarr who was subsequently ruled out with ligament damage. Then Africa Cup of Nations duty resulted in him not making his return until February 12.
Watford were 16th, four points clear of the relegation zone following the humbling of United, but then went on to pick up just two points from 30 with Sarr sidelined.
A win and an assist against Aston Villa marked his first full game back, while he also featured in the draw in the reverse fixture with Manchester United before a muscle strain ruled him out of the defeats to Arsenal and Wolves.
If Watford are to survive, they will be hoping it isn't another long-term absence doesn't scupper their plans.
PPG with Sarr: 1.06
PPG without Sarr: 0.17
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)
Let's be honest, Leeds haven't been doing particularly well with Kalvin Phillips in the side. With the England midfielder in their ranks they have picked up just 15 points from 12 games, winning three and drawing six.
It's not just the defeats - 12 in 16 games - but the manner of them. Forty-nine goals have been shipped in those 16 games, with 30 coming in just six fixtures thanks in part to 5-1, 6-0 and 7-0 maulings.
PPG with Phillips: 1.25
PPG Without Phillips: 0.5
Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Signed in late August from Sheffield United, Ramsdale had already missed the Gunners' opening-day defeat to Brentford before witnessing the subsequent losses to Chelsea and Manchester City from the bench.
PPG with Ramsdale: 2.18
PPG without Ramsdale: 0