Thiago has been a defensive liability but he ISN’T slowing Liverpool down, insists Jamie Carragher… but he concedes Jurgen Klopp has lost the ‘pounding heart’ of his side in Fabinho and Jordan Henderson
- Jamie Carragher believes it is wrong to say Thiago slows down Liverpool
- The Spaniard arrived at Anfield with great expectations from Bayern Munich
- His acclimatisation hasn’t been smooth with Reds’ midfield blighted by injuries
- Carragher says Thiago’s been hurt by Fabinho and Jordan Henderson’s absence
Jamie Carragher has dismissed claims that Thiago Alcantara is to blame for slowing down Liverpool’s play.
The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich midfielder has been heavily criticised since he made the move to the Premier League champions last summer.
Carragher accepts that Thiago has been a defensive liability but feels that most of Liverpool’s problems are down to losing their ‘pounding heart’ in midfield with injuries to Fabinho and captain Jordan Henderson.
Jurgen Klopp (right) bought a ready-made star in Thiago Alcantara (left) but the Spaniard’s acclimatisation to the Premier League has so far not been straightforward
‘I never believed Thiago was signed to play every game,’ Carragher wrote in his Telegraph column.
‘Klopp would have okayed the deal with a plan in mind as he looked to introduce an extra five or 10 per cent into a winning machine. Instead, the pounding heartbeat of the team was lost.
‘That means Liverpool’s results have been poorer than Thiago’s performances.’
Defeat to Leicester City in the last round of games saw Klopp concede that their title defence is over and they are already 16 points behind Manchester City.
Thiago (right) has looked stretched in key moments of games and has been heavily criticised
Jamie Carragher feels Thiago is a defensive liability but dismissed claims he slows down play
Thiago’s Anfield career has proven to be stop-start from the very beginning with the midfielder contracting Covid-19 before later picking up an injury in October, which ruled him out for three months.
Klopp’s side battled on resolutely and did not lose a game in the league in his absence. They have won just two since he was restored to the side.
Thiago is also yet to score or make an assist for Liverpool this season with 14 appearances in all competitions.
‘He is technically better (than what they had), but lacks pace and his tackling is noticeably erratic,’ Carragher added.
Thiago’s decision-making has been questioned, having been seen to be very rash in the tackle
‘At times, such as the poor final 12 minutes at the King Power Stadium, Thiago has been a defensive liability. He lost the ball and then sloppily conceded the free-kick in the build-up Leicester’s equaliser. He made another clumsy tackle within 60 seconds against RB Leipzig in midweek.’
When Henderson and Fabinho have been fit they have often been deployed as centre backs following serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez and so Thiago has had little chance to build up chemistry and familiarity in the middle of the park.
Liverpool go into Saturday’s Merseyside derby desperately needing a win to stabilise a faltering top-four bid, having been overtaken by Chelsea and West Ham.