BBC Sport pundit gives honest assessment of Thiago’s impact at Liverpool FC
BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks admits he still has reservations about Thiago Alcantara at Liverpool FC
Liverpool FC still need a “midfield enforcer” despite Thiago Alcantara’s impressive display in Saturday’s 4-0 rout of Southampton at Anfield, according to BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks.
The Spain international has found his feet in Jurgen Klopp’s team over the past couple of weeks after a difficult start to his Liverpool FC career since moving from Bayern Munich in 2020.
The 30-year-old scored Liverpool FC’s third goal thanks to some good movement before the Spain international’s long-range shot was deflected past Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Thiago has now scored in successive games for the first time in his Reds career after the former FC Barcelona midfielder netted a sumptuous strike in Liverpool FC’s 2-0 win over FC Porto in the Champions League at Anfield last week.
Thiago has started just four of Liverpool FC’s 13 games in the Premier League this season but Jurgen Klopp has named the Spaniard in his last three starting line-ups.
Crooks says Thiago is able to impress when Liverpool FC are in control of proceedings but the BBC Sport pundit has doubts about the number six when he finds himself in a physical encounter.
“The Spaniard has never totally convinced me he has acclimatised to the intensity of the Premier League,” Crooks told BBC Sport.
“There is no doubt he can play, but when the game becomes physical or hectic I often feel his lack of pace limits his ability to engage and the game starts to pass him by. Liverpool’s dominance of Southampton allowed them to control the game – Thiago in particular.
“He’s masterful on the ball and has the most velvet touch. This is all very well when your team is in control but Liverpool need the occasional rottweiler (enforcer) in midfield and that, he is not.”
Thiago has scored three times in 40 games in all competitions over the past 18 months since his big-money move to Liverpool FC from Bayern Munich.
Former Liverpool FC striker Don Hutchison echoed the BBC Sport pundit’s sentiments and challenged Thiago to prove why Liverpool FC signed the creative midfielder in a £25m deal from Bayern Munich.
Hutchison told Premier League Productions: “He needs to get going because when Liverpool signed Thiago from Bayern, I thought, ‘What a signing that’s going to be! That’s going to take Liverpool to City’s style of play, when you are struggling to break someone down. he is going to be the man’.
“He has not done it yet.”
Thiago made his Liverpool FC debut in a 2-2 draw with Everton back in October 2020 and the Spain international will be hoping to retain his spot in Klopp’s starting XI when the Reds return to Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby on Wednesday night.