The Reds have struggled to produce this season, but the German insists that has nothing to do with the highly-rated summer signing
Jurgen Klopp has said that any comments suggesting that Thiago Alcantara has had anything to do with Liverpool’s poor form this year are simply “rubbish”.
Thiago prospered as part of a reshaped midfield that helped the Reds to a 2-0 second-leg victory over RB Leipzig on Wednesday night, with Fabinho’s return to the centre of the pitch allowing the Spaniard to operate with more freedom.
It had been suggested in some quarters that the former Bayern Munich man’s style of play was not suited to Liverpool’s game, but Klopp insists those accusations are wide of the mark.
What has been said?
When asked about Thiago by a German reporter following the match in Budapest, Klopp told the press: “I assume when you all look at Liverpool from Germany, people say [our problems are] to do with Thiago or whatever – that’s rubbish.
“Thiago was good, they were all good. For the players who were new, they always needed time to get used to our gameplan, but Thiago doesn’t have that. Still, he improves week on week. It’s not a short-term project, it’s a long-term project and it was good.
“It is very fluid how we work together. The boys played some nice passes and Thiago had a great chance as well. I think he could have had a shot on goal but instead passed.”
The bigger picture
While Thiago’s obvious talent was never in doubt, Liverpool’s struggles this season have had fans and pundits alike clamouring for excuses to explain the club’s poor form.
With Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez all having been sidelined with injury, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson’s shift into central defence had an obvious impact on the Reds’ overall gameplan.
With Fabinho having been moved back into midfield on Wednesday and orthodox centre-backs Nat Philips and Ozan Kabak performing admirably in a 2-0 shut-out against Leipzig, fans were able to get a more realistic view of what Thiago has to offer.
Liverpool are well off the pace in the Premier League, currently languishing in eighth place – 25 points of leaders Manchester City.
With Pep Guardiola’s side now firm favourites to lift the title, Liverpool face a scramble to finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s edition of the Champions League.
With their 4-0 aggregate victory over Leipzig, however, some fans may feel that the best chance of guaranteeing top-tier European football in 2021-22 will be lifting the title again this season.