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Game-high 6 tackles: Thiago shut the doubters up last night

Thiago registered six tackles against RB Leipzig last night. It’s a performance that should shut the doubters up once and for all.

What a fantastic performance. We gave Thiago a 10 in our player ratings against RB Leipzig after he helped secure a UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final place.

This was, in many ways, the kind of performance we hoped for when Liverpool signed Thiago. He was fluid on the ball, creating chances and opening Leipzig up time and time again.

The Reds benefitted from having such a composed player in the middle. And a lot of that was down to Fabinho, too.

The Brazilian came in as a holding midfielder and allowed Thiago to focus on his own game.

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Liverpool haven’t had someone doing that for a few months now. Not since Jordan Henderson started playing at the back. It created a mess, really, with a series of players trying to half-fill the role. Whoever was closest to the defence tried to plug the gap, really.

But no one was good at it. It drew out some awful performances and a lot of criticism.

We had Jamie Carragher labelling him a defensive liability. John Barnes believing he slows play down too much. And Michael Owen questioning if he’d get in Liverpool’s best XI.

It’s harsh to just pick on those three, admittedly – there has been much more criticism of Thiago. But it should stop after Wednesday.

Complete

Thiago won six tackles against Leipzig – more than anyone on the pitch. Remarkably, he did that with a 100 per cent success rate.

When he’s not having to be a holding midfielder and when he has the support of one, Thiago is an excellent defensive midfield player. He helped to stop Leipzig and keep Liverpool solid.

He also shut down suggestions that he’s too slow. Liverpool played on the counter-attack on Wednesday, with under 50 per cent possession.

Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Yet Thiago thrived. He kept Liverpool going as much as anyone and didn’t struggle whatsoever in a faster game.

It’s no surprise that Thiago looked better in a more cohesive midfield. Hopefully, his performance here proved that and the criticism can stop.

Because there’s no doubt that we’re looking at one of the world’s best here.

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