EPL

Thiago like a 'world-class golfer', says Liverpool boss Klopp

By Sports Desk September 17, 2021

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Thiago Alcantara is "like a world-class golfer", while insisting there is much more to come from the Spaniard at Anfield.

Thiago joined Liverpool from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich amid plenty of fanfare ahead of the 2020-21 campaign but the Spain international experienced a mixed start to life on Merseyside, where injuries hampered his maiden season.

The 30-year-old midfielder has featured in three of Liverpool's opening four Premier League matches, starting once, while he came off the bench in Wednesday's Champions League victory over Milan.

A year on from his arrival, Klopp hailed Thiago ahead of Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace.

"The start was not perfect," Klopp told reporters during his pre-game news conference. "He got Covid, got injured early which of course makes things much more difficult. But he showed what kind of player he will be for us. There is much more to come of course.

"It has been a year, but if you want it is only half a year because of all the things which happened. Coming to a new club, in the most difficult period in all our lives, he settled really well. His family is here, he loves it here, he was in the middle of the team very quickly. He's a really good character, really good personality and obviously a world-class player. It is all fine!"

Klopp added: "He played more often at Munich in a double-six role, but for us it's a complex position; you have to be offensive, you have to be defensive, you have to be between the lines, you can drop into the last line to receive the ball, but not always. 

"But he is such a natural footballer it is not like we have to give him 15 or 16 different things to do in the game. I don't ask him for constant runs beyond the last line. He is a playmaker, obviously, who can sometimes be a little deeper, but he must be there in the two ‘interesting’ lines of the opponent as well.

"He has great vision and can change things with his passing. In a closed area with his passing he is really good, and he can chip balls into each area like a golfer, actually. A good golfer. A world class golfer! He does that without even thinking. 

"I love the way he plays. It's a complex position to be the number eight for us. We have different skill sets and we use different skill sets from time to time when we think a particular skill set makes more sense against a particular opponent."

Liverpool are on the longest current league unbeaten run in the top four tiers of English football, going 14 league games without defeat since a 1-0 home loss against Fulham in March (W11 D3).

Klopp's Liverpool have had more shots than any other Premier League side this season (100). Their 30 attempts against Leeds United last time out brought up their 100, making them just the second side since 2003-04 to have 100-plus shots in their first four games of a season, after Chelsea in 2009-10 (109).

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