Thiago Alcantara makes Liverpool’s midfield worse because he plays a different style of football to his teammates, says the former Reds midfielder Didi Hamann.
Thiago made his Anfield debut against Manchester United on the weekend after an injury-hampered start to his Liverpool career. He appeared bright and created some of Liverpool’s best moments in the game, although ultimately the champions never hit top gear in a goalless draw which left them fourth in the Premier League.
Thiago is known for his exceptional technical ability and close control, as well as his incisive passing, but Hamman says these qualities are better suited to a team which employs a slower tempo in midfield, rather than Jurgen Klopp’s self-styled brand of “heavy metal football” which flourishes best with hard runners prepared to win the ball high up the pitch, rather than building possession from deeper positions.
Hamman tweeted: “Liverpool had a lot of possession for quite some time now and always found a way to break up defences. The dynamics of the team will change with Thiago in the team. I don't think for the better. He's best when the team got long phases of possession, everything Liverpool of the last few years is not.”
Speaking on TalkSport radio, the German added: “He slows things down and doesn't really play the way Liverpool play. Liverpool in the past have had hard-working midfielders, they were not as skilful as Thiago, but they have the ball to Mane and Salah early. If you get the ball early on the wing, and theses guys can run at players they are very hard to stop.
😫 “Thiago slows things down & doesn’t play the way Liverpool play.”
👍 “They had midfielders less skilful but who played the ball quickly.”
🔴 “Thiago likes possession but #LFC were good playing quickly.”@DietmarHamann isn’t sure if Thiago’s the right fit at Liverpool. pic.twitter.com/ZG10119xs6
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) January 19, 2021
“I just feel with Thiago, everyone was raving about him coming to Liverpool, he's hardly played. He came on against Chelsea and had the most passes in the second half, against a Chelsea team that was down to 10 men. He came on against Newcastle in the last 25 minutes, Newcastle were dead on their feet, everyone was raving about how good he is.
“I can tell you, he's a good player, a skilful player. But there was never a time in Munich where people said, 'oh he's the first on the teamsheet'. So I'd be very cautious when it comes to Thiago. And the other thing is, as other people alluded to earlier, he plays a different style of football. He likes to be in possession. Liverpool were always good when they weren't in possession, won it and played quickly forward. He's not that type of player, so it will be very interesting when he does play more often now how it's going to change the dynamics of the team.”