Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has claimed that Jurgen Klopp would have been better off this season had he not signed Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich.
The Spanish international arrived from Bavaria for a fee of £20 million [BBC] last summer, but has been subject to just five Liverpool appearances since his September move as a result of a knee injury.
Since his return to action at the start of the year, Thiago has featured in matches against Newcastle, Southampton and Manchester United. During that period, Liverpool have failed to score and have acquired just two points from a possible nine.
Hamann on Thiago
It represents their worst vein of goalscoring form in almost 16 years for the club, and Hamann, who also has represented both Bayern and Liverpool, has claimed that Thiago isn’t suited to benefit the reigning English champions.
“He slows things down and doesn’t really play the way Liverpool play,” he said, as per The ECHO. “Liverpool in the past two years had hard-working midfielders. They were skilful, yes, but not as skilful as Thiago.
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“They gave the ball to Salah and Mane early, and when you get the ball early to the wing and these guys can run at players, they are very hard, impossible to stop.
“Everyone was raving about Thiago when he came to Liverpool but he’s hardly played. He came on against Chelsea where they had the most passes in the second half but Chelsea were down to 10 men.
“Then he came on against Newcastle for the last 25 minutes and Newcastle were dead on their feet.
“I can tell you he is a good player, a skilful player, yes. But there was never a time at Munich where people said he should be the first name on the teamsheet.”
Speaking with talkSPORT, Hamann, added: “I’d be very cautious when it comes to Thiago. He plays a different style of football. He likes to be in possession.
“Liverpool were always good when they played quickly forward, and he’s not that type of player.
“It’ll be very interesting when he does play more often now, how he changes the dynamics of the team.”
What RTK has to say
Unfortunately for Hamann, we are in total disagreement with his analogy of Thiago.
Against United, in particular, Thiago was the one player to stand out for his quality. No wonder Klopp made a beeline for the 29-year-old at the final whistle.
Thiago pulled the strings in midfield and always looked to drive the team forward, particularly in the first half. He had more touches (121) and completed more passes (83) than anyone else on the field, after all.
Indeed, Liverpool have come up short in their last three matches, but to put the blame on Thiago is just absurd.
In his short time as a Liverpool player, Thiago has already shown glimpses of his undeniable quality. Even against United, the former Barcelona star was the one player to force a meaningful save from goalkeeper David de Gea. He also made two key passes for his team – again, more than any other player.
His vision, game intelligence and range of passing is above anything supporters have seen in years.
So, to assume the acquisition of Thiago will not benefit Liverpool is a little premature. He is still yet to play alongside Jordan Henderson in midfield since his return from injury, after all.
Once the dynamic in midfield has been restored and Liverpool can find some consistency their team selection, this barren run of form surely won’t last much longer.