Thiago Alcantara has suggested the deeper midfield role he’s been asked to play at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp was behind the reason for his difficult first season at Anfield.
The Spain international arrived as an exciting signing from then-European champions Bayern Munich last September. Despite an exciting debut away at Chelsea, he encountered a nasty knee injury against Everton in October. That ruled him out until late December and he initially struggled after returning.
Indeed, some pundits criticised him while the likes of Jamie Carragher defended his displays.
Thiago’s struggles came partly because the injuries in Klopp’s team forced him to play a deeper role. As such, he often could not produce his best passing game and drive his team forward.
The 43-cap Spain star, however, could be afforded a more advanced role next season. To that end, it’s claimed Klopp will trial him in the more attacking position during their pre-season preparations.
And that would seemingly be to Thiago’s liking too.
Assessing his first season at Anfield, he suggested to L’Equipe that his deep, creative role did not bring out the best in him.
“I would say it (his ability to create) has been more limited because of a positional issue,” he said, via Sport Witness.
“If I play number 6 instead of number 10, I’ll have less room to manoeuvre, less freedom to dribble. That’s natural as I’ll have to take fewer risks.
“In the history of football, strikers have always been admired more than defenders. Because a defender can’t make a mistake, unlike the striker (who can try harder).
“So, for me, it’ s a question of position.”
Klopp ‘hard work’ for Thiago
In a separate interview with Sky Sports, the 30-year-old has opened up on his first season in England.
Thiago said: “It was tough but I think I’ve had worse moments than that in my life,” he says. “With calm, with work and with resilience, you can overcome all situations.
“Looking back at this season, we had a lot of walls in front of us that we had to pull down. It was like that.
“We had many important players injured. We had to create a new team and a new style – very similar to what we had, but with different players.
“In the end, we created a group that is fighting for a place in the Champions League, so that’s nice.”