Thiago Alcantara Is Again Blamed For Liverpool’s Struggles This Season
Thiago Alcantara has again been blamed for Liverpool's struggles with one Premier League winner claiming he "just doesn't have the energy" to play in Jurgen Klopp's side.
Liverpool greats such as John Barnes and Dietmar Hamann have already weighed in on the summer signing who arrived from Bayern Munich. Few doubt his remarkable array of skills but there's questions over whether he fits into Liverpool's system.
Hamman claimed Thiago "slows things down and doesn't really play the way Liverpool play," while Barnes suggested the Spain international was failing to link up with the Reds' attacking trio of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
"Thiago slows the game down," Barnes told talkSPORT. "When he slowed the game down in tight areas, that is not Mane's game, that is not Salah's game. So we're getting used to a new system, but at the moment it's not working."
Now former Germany international and Premier League winner Robert Huth has his say, explaining why Thiago is simply not able to replicate what the likes of Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum bring to Liverpool's midfield.
"They are such an amazing machine Liverpool, when they have all the players available they're literally 11 machines on a pitch," Huth told Compare.Bet.
"When you take a few out, you lose that sort of momentum, like Henderson playing at centre-back - people not playing in their positions...
"Where Liverpool used to be really threatening on the counter, winning the ball high up, having Thiago in there now, as great a player as he is, he just doesn't have the energy.
"I mean [he's had an] amazing career for sure, but he's not going to be flying around like Henderson does, like Wijnaldum does, like all the other players.
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"They need a real high-energy player to break the lines when they win the ball.
"All that sort of thing is missing. Like Klopp used to say, it's heavy metal football and they'd just blow teams away, but that sort of energy is missing at the moment."
It's certainly true that Klopp has tended to use more functional, hard-working players in midfield - and Thiago differs from that template being, at his best, an elite-level playmaker.
However the 29-year-old was brought in for exactly that reason: to offer something different to Liverpool's other high-energy attackers and to be able to unlock a defence in a different way.
Thiago has struggled with injuries since he arrived and the champion's title defence has gone off the rails in 2021, with Liverpool losing four of their last seven league games, including a 4-1 defeat to Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
It was a bad day at the office for #LFC 'keeper Alisson...:grimacing:- Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 7, 2021
Here are his :two: costly errors against #MCFC as he handed the visitors two goals in quick succession! :open_mouth: pic.twitter.com/xaR9Vz3dHw
That line-up included Thiago, but many fans point to Liverpool's struggles being a combination of exhaustion and the decimation at the heart of their defence with their three best centre-backs all suffering long-term injuries this season.
Is Thiago simply a bad fit for Klopp's side or are the problems entirely unconnected to his arrival? Let us know in the comments.
All imagery: PA Images
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