Thiago Alcantara admits to being “not happy” with his form as questions continue to be asked of his value to the collective cause at Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s acquisition of the Spain international playmaker during the summer of 2020 was considered to be a quite a coup, with the 29-year-old arriving at Anfield on the back of a treble-winning campaign at Bayern Munich.
Niggling knocks, a bout of Covid-19 and uncharacteristic struggles as a collective have all conspired against Thiago and his efforts to make the desired impact in the Reds’ engine room.
- Rodgers' reputation as a 'serial bottler' is rubbish: Leicester boss is one of the Premier League's top tacticians
- From FA Cup winner to training-ground rebel: Madrid's jack of all trades Lassana Diarra had no ordinary career
- 'Nobody knew about the women's team!' - How Barcelona built one of the best sides in Europe
- Kacper Kozlowski: The 'Polish Pogba' already on Man Utd's radar
What has been said?
Reflecting on his time in England with TNT Sports Brasil, Thiago said: “I don't read a word about what people talk about me.
“I know that I receive some criticism about my performances, but I'm not happy with my performance since I came here.
“A new club, a strange situation, I had a strong injury, so get to into the rhythm it was hard, but it's not an excuse.”
Why has Thiago come in for criticism?
It has been suggested that the creative midfielder has slowed Liverpool down since joining their ranks.
In a deep-lying role, he often takes the ball off those at the back and attempts to get Klopp’s side moving through the lines.
Recent success on Merseyside has been achieved when feeding the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane much earlier than that, while the Reds have been famed for pressing from the front.
Thiago did look a little more at home when operating further forward in a 2-0 Champions League win over RB Leipzig that booked the Reds a place in the quarter-finals of elite European competition, with Fabinho slotting in alongside him to fill a holding role.
“He is a great player. He gives us a lot of confidence in our backs, and it's awesome to play alongside him,” Thiago told Liverpool’s official website of working with a Brazil international in the middle of the park.
“It frees me up a bit, I can move some lines forward and with that I can be more confident and player [nearer] the strikers.
“I enjoy playing a bit more advanced because you're always near the goal and you can create chances and score. It's a nice position.”
The bigger picture
Klopp has sought to defend Thiago from detractors at regular intervals this season, with those inside the Liverpool camp having no complaints about a proven performer.
They will hope that the return to fitness of key men, which has allowed the likes of Fabinho to be moved back into a more natural position, will allow everyone at Anfield to flourish during a sprint towards the finish in what has been a testing campaign for all concerned.