Liverpool squad man blasts ‘absurd’ criticism of high-profile teammate

Date published: Tuesday 6th April 2021 3:48 - Samuel Bannister

Thiago Alcantara, Xherdan Shaqiri, Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool v Burnley January 2021

Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian believes his teammate Thiago Alcantara has been the subject of “absurd” criticism since he joined the club in the summer.

There was much anticipation for Thiago’s arrival when Liverpool agreed to sign the midfielder from Bayern Munich. He had just won the Champions League with the Bundesliga giants to add to his extensive medal collection. However, he has struggled to prove his worth since moving to Merseyside.

Thiago is yet to provide a goal or assist for Liverpool and missed a chunk of the season through injury. He has begun to find some form recently but still looks like he hasn’t got up to speed in Jurgen Klopp’s system yet.

A report last month highlighted one possible explanation for Thiago’s struggles – the lack of a holding midfielder alongside him. Indeed, his slight upturn in form has coincided with Fabinho moving back into midfield.

But whatever the reason for his struggles, teammate and Spanish compatriot believes criticism of the former Barcelona star has gone too far.

“Of course,” Adrian told Marca. “Thiago is receiving absurd criticism.

“He has more than demonstrated what a great player he is and he will also prove it at Liverpool.

“He comes from a different league, where he plays at a different pace, he had several injuries, COVID-19… That makes it difficult to adapt and, on top of that, the team has not been at his level.”

So far, Thiago has started 13 Premier League games for Liverpool, coming on as a substitute in three more.

Klopp has denied that his integration into a successful team has been the reason for Liverpool’s downturn in fortunes this season. The manager has also reassured Thiago of his long-term future at the club.

The Spaniard remains under contract at Anfield until 2024, by which time he will be 33 years old.

Thiago happy with Liverpool decision

Last month, Thiago suggested he had no regrets about joining Liverpool by explaining his decision to do so.

“I had options to return, but it was clear to me,” he told AS. “Leaving Bayern was to be able to live the experience of the Premier League, a very competitive league.

“When I got the call from the coach and the club, it was an easy decision to choose the destination, but it was difficult to choose if I really wanted to leave Bayern. In the end it happened and I am very happy.

“It is a change of country, club, stadium and you have the expectation not only of seeing the fans in the stadium, and it will be beautiful to see Anfield full, but also the experience of learning day by day about this new country.

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“For footballers like us, football loses much of its essence without people in the stands. We are competing with empty stadiums and we have had to relearn because since we were little we have played with people, with screaming parents.

“We knew how to do it and we were used to playing with people supporting us and even if it’s people against us. Now we have got used to playing without the public, but we miss so much that there is a little yearning every day that there are people in the stadiums.”

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