Arsene Wenger pinpoints exact problem Thiago brings to Liverpool midfield

Thiago Alcantara, Christopher Nkunku

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has explained the issue Jurgen Klopp has with bringing Thiago Alcantara into the Liverpool midfield.

The Reds spent £25m to bring the technically-gifted midfielder to the club in September from Bayern Munich. However, it’s not gone so well for the classy Spaniard since moving to Anfield.

After first being sidelined by a problematic ankle problem, Thiago’s return to the side in December coincided with a slump in Liverpool’s form.

Indeed, costly recent defeats to Burnley, Brighton, Manchester City and Leicester have seen Jurgen Klopp concede the title.

The 29-year-old has displayed his wonderful range of passing in a Liverpool shirt. However, Thiago has struggled to find decisive passes in the final third and does not have an assist to his name. There have been some theories thrown around suggesting Liverpool’s downturn is down to Thiago’s return to the side.

That has led to a fierce defence from Jamie Redknapp, who labelled the claims as ‘nonsense’.

However, after playing in Liverpool’s 2-0 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Wenger has explained the ‘problem’ Thiago brings to their midfield.

Indeed, while appreciative of Thiago’s abilities, Wenger says the player has presented Klopp with an issue.

“Thiago, for me, shows the typical problem of a manager,” Wenger told beIN Sports.

“Liverpool were very hungry and aggressive in midfield. As a manager, you think, ‘now I want to make the team better and I’ll get a technical player’.

“When you get a technical player you lose the aggression in midfield. You destroy a little bit of the strength of Liverpool.

“They have certainly less capacity today to win the ball back and they suffer a little bit more. So sometimes when you want to improve the team, you take something away from the team.”

Klopp happy with Liverpool win

Klopp, meanwhile, was happy to prove people wrong as Liverpool turned their domestic form on its head in the Champions League last 16.

Speaking to BT Sport after the match Klopp said: “It was the game we wanted, the game we needed.

“Leipzig can be a real monster, they overrun teams, they are really physical and tonight we controlled them in an exceptional way.


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“We played a really good game and we got the result we deserved.

“We defended really well and had good recovery. It was a tough game with only two days since the last one.

“It’s only the first leg, we know that but a lot of people were waiting for us to slip again.

“For two years we were really good and this year we have problems, that’s fine. A lot of people expected us to slip again but the boys didn’t.”

READ MORE: Henderson revels in missing piece of Liverpool puzzle that finally returned

 

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