Premier League • England

Thiago labelled ‘one of the most overrated’ in Europe as Liverpool told star exposes big transfer need

Bruno Fernandes marking Thiago Alcantara

Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has slammed Thiago Alcantara as “overrated”, claiming that he doesn’t show up when truly needed.

The Spaniard moved from Bayern Munich to Anfield in September 2020 in an eye-catching transfer. While he showed initial promise, injury set him back.

But following a standout end to the 2020/21 campaign, he was at the heart of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool plan this season.

Injury issues kept Thiago out for parts of the season but he ended the term with 39 outings. While he missed the Carabao Cup final triumph, he featured in both the FA Cup and Champions League showpieces.

Thiago faced criticism at the start of his Liverpool career, with some observers saying he slowed the Reds’ play and trademark attacking intensity down. Klopp recently laughed off those claims, saying he was thankful such people do not have power over Liverpool’s decisions.

However, fresh Thiago criticism has emerged after the 1-0 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Ex-Liverpool star Hamann told Sky Sports: “In my opinion, the Reds need to modernise the team a bit, especially in midfield.

“I don’t understand the hype about Thiago. For me he is one of the most overrated players in European football.

When things are going well and you have a lot of possession he’s a good player but, when push comes to shove, you don’t see him.

“If you need someone who sets accents, then he doesn’t do it. [Naby] Keita is also a disappointment, [Jordan] Henderson is a worker.

“They need a player who can make the difference and give the team that extra something.”

Thiago played 80 minutes against Madrid and while Liverpool had nine shots on target, they could not get past Thibaut Courtois.

Thiago forming part of Liverpool midfield concern

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Thiago

Liverpool will soon have to revamp their midfield, regardless of whether Thiago’s performances are a concern.

The Spain international and Jordan Henderson are 31, so time in their career is starting to go against them.

Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has strong interest from elsewhere this summer and could leave. He is in the final year of his deal, as is Keita.

Thiago is one of Klopp’s top midfielders, with the German sure to pick him in his best team if given the chance.

However, the player will always seemingly generate debate over his impact going forwards, especially in a team known for fast attacking play.