Premier League • England

Klopp told Liverpool are ‘flawed’ when one man plays, with Man Utd ace serving as prime example of what Reds lack

Liverpool stars Thiago Alcantara and Mohamed Salah

One observer has explained why he believes Jurgen Klopp must axe Thiago Alcantara, and pointed to a Man Utd star – among other high profile midfielders – as perfect examples of what Liverpool lack.

The Reds’ suffered yet more disappointment on Saturday when their poor form bled over into the FA Cup. Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw at home to a much-changed and youthful Wolves side. The end result sees Liverpool forced into adding a third round replay into their already-congested fixture list.

Wolves’ opener came via an uncharacteristic error from Alisson Becker. The usually-dependable Brazilian passed straight to Goncalo Guedes who made no mistake when punishing the error.

However, the ball was only at Alisson’s feet after Thiago had been caught dribbling out from the back. Mere seconds after being robbed of possession, Liverpool were behind.

It’s no secret Liverpool’s midfield is the problem area at present. As such, the vast bulk of transfer speculation at Anfield has revolved around midfield buys.

But for the time being, talkSPORT pundit and Liverpool fan, Tony Cascarino, has called into question Thiago’s suitability for Klopp’s side.

Fabinho is the club’s primary disruptor in midfield, though there was a time when Klopp deployed three stars in the engine room whose sole purpose was to stifle the opposition and protect the back four.

Indeed, Liverpool were arguably at their peak a few years prior with the trio of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Georginio Wijnaldum anchoring the midfield.

The addition of Thiago has added a new dimension going forward, though Cascarino isn’t sure the overall balance of the team has benefitted

Thiago hindering Liverpool more than he’s helping?

“My biggest problem with Liverpool is that I think Klopp’s idea is flawed around Thiago,” said Cascarino.

“He is a fabulous, talented footballer, but all the time he is in that midfield, the ball keeps going to him. And, yes, he is really comfortable on it and he can make things happen. He’s technically gifted.

“He’s up there with the very best I’ve seen but I just think it affects Liverpool’s style completely.

“They lose possession and teams keep coming at them and go through Liverpool like a knife through butter. I’ve seen Leeds do it to Liverpool at Anfield this year. I’ve seen Leicester do it to Liverpool. And I’ve seen, yesterday, Wolves, again.

“These are without mentioning Fulham at the start of the season, Napoli in the Champions League, and Man Utd away.

“Liverpool are playing a style that I believe is flawed with Thiago in there because I just think it changes the whole way Liverpool managed the midfield before.”

Casemiro has ‘completely changed’ Man Utd; Fabinho needs more help?

Liverpool have kept just eight clean sheets from a possible 27 across all competitions this season.

The fact they concede the first goal so frequently emboldens the opposition to sit back, soak up pressure, then exploit Liverpool’s high line on the counter.

Cascarino then reeled off a list of elite holding midfielders in the Premier League who help lay a foundation for success.

Man Utd’s Casemiro and Man City’s Rodri were namechecked, and the pundit is seemingly of the belief Fabinho needs another like-minded player alongside him, not a forward-thinking playmaker like Thiago.

Cascarino added: “Holding midfielders are really important in the modern game.

“You have to have a ball-winner. Kalvin Phillips did it for Leeds. Look at [N’Golo] Kante being missing at Chelsea and what’s happened. They can’t do the same things at Chelsea.

“Casemiro coming into Manchester United completely changes their dynamic because he wins the ball and he keeps the ball. You can go on, Rodri at Man City.

“Holding midfielders are really important. Liverpool are missing that type of player. It’s not because Thiago is not a fabulous footballer, because he clearly is. I just think the style is flawed with him in it.”

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