Thiago Alcantara admits that the lack of fans inside Anfield has proved the biggest hurdle in Liverpool’s largely dismal season.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men began the season on a high after becoming Premier League champions last term. But while their solid first half of the season had them top on Christmas Day, they have since suffered a dramatic slide. In fact, they fell to a low of eighth and now face a firm battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
The Reds’ away form has remained fairly stable, but on home soil they have gone from one extreme to another.
After going 68 games unbeaten at Anfield, Liverpool lost six in a row. What’s more, they have only scored one goal in open play in their own ground in 2021.
Speaking to Liverpool’s matchday programme, Thiago opened up on how the lack of fans have affected his colleagues.
“This year, with the fans missing, the team has needed to find an extra gear to be able to compete,” the Spaniard said.
“Everyone wants to continue winning things and scoring goals and this desire is still very strong in the team.”
Thiago may have international allegiances with Spain, but he is the son of Brazil icon Mazinho.
Furthermore, his brother Rafinha – who plays for Paris Saint-Germain – has made two caps for Brazil.
As such, Thiago has roots in the South American country and revealed how players from the nation feed off a crowd.
Thiago admits Liverpool Brazilians struggling
“I think it’s the emotional side for players,” Thiago added. “Brazilian players bring this emotion on to the pitch – suffering in bad times and highly driven when times are good.
“This emotional aspect is really important, not just for Brazilian footballers but Brazilians in general. We’re suffering a lot with this in our profession, we’ve adapted but obviously we really miss the fans.”
He added: “Football is a game, a spectacle, it’s entertainment. With all due respect to the opposition, when we play we try to put on a show and perform for people.
“It’s reciprocal – you go out and play and you do something well and you get an emotional response from the fans, you get a response when you make a mistake as well.
“You help the fans and they help you, you’re playing together with them and this emotional aspect is important to us.”
Liverpool return to action on Monday evening, travelling to Elland Road to play Leeds.
The Reds won a 4-3 thriller between the sides at Anfield in their first Premier League game of the season.