Thiago Alcantara hasn’t had the easiest start to life at Liverpool after joining from Bayern Munich over the summer. The injuries that have plagued Jurgen Klopp’s squad on the heels of winning their first Premier League title hasn’t helped Thiago’s case at all, and he missed a great deal of the beginning of the season himself. Not to mention, he also missed time when he first joined after getting coronavirus.
Amidst one of the club’s worst runs of form in the Premier League, Thiago admitted that no one in Liverpool’s squad could have anticipated this horrid run, even in their “worst nightmares,” coming off such an impressive domestic campaign last season (Daily Mail). “It’s been a tough period for all of us because we didn’t expect in our worst nightmares we would be in this position in the Premier League but we try to perform as best we can and try to get better,” the former Bayern midfielder explained.
Of course, the doom and gloom on Merseyside has slightly subsided since Liverpool has knocked out RB Leipzig to advance to the quarterfinals of the Champions League, winning by a total of 4-0 on aggregate over the two legs in Budapest, Hungary. “After this performance [vs. Leipzig] it is positive for all of us,” Thiago optimistically stated.
Klopp even gave Thiago plenty of credit for the role he played, particularly in the second leg against Leipzig, where Klopp was able to field Fabinho in his natural, holding midfield position instead of central defense. “It helps when Fab can play the six, it gives Gini [Wijnaldum] freedom, Thiago did well, and the front three (Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, plus Diogo Jota) worked well together,” Klopp explained after the 2-0 win. Of course, Jota has just marked his own return from a lengthy injury layover and started for the injured Roberto Firmino.
Given that he came from Bayern Munich just after clinching a historic treble, a lot was expected of Thiago when he arrived at Anfield for a fee of €30 million. Thiago received a lot of criticism when Liverpool really started to enter their poor run of form, which coincidentally started to occur when he started to get back into the squad after his spell on the sidelines.
Thiago’s case wasn’t helped by the fact that both Fabinho and Jordan Henderson had recently picked up injuries and that their back line has been without Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez for most of the season. Have the right defenders behind you can make all the difference in the world in that respect.
Klopp reiterated that Liverpool’s poor run is a collective problem and has nothing solely to do with Thiago’s individual performances. After the win over Leipzig, he said, “Thiago was good. I assume when you all look at Liverpool (and their problems) people say it’s to do with Thiago or whatever - that’s rubbish. For the players who were new always needed time to get used to our game plan but Thiago doesn’t have that but he improves week on week and it is not a short-term project, it is a long-term project and it was good.”