LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordan Henderson backs Thiago after recent scrutiny – “He’s a phenomenal player”

Jordan Henderson has reiterated that Thiago is a “phenomenal player” after recent criticism, but said Liverpool’s No. 6 is still “getting used to the way that we play.”

Thiago‘s start to life with the Reds has been blighted by COVID-19 and injury, with Jurgen Klopp attesting to the “insane” circumstances his new signings after having to adapt within.

Despite this, the Spaniard has largely impressed when called upon, but with Liverpool experiencing a slump in form of late there has scrutiny been of his performances.

Most notably, concerns have been raised over his wayward tackling – which led to James Maddison’s equaliser for Leicester in Saturday’s 3-1 loss – while critics have also claimed Thiago slows play down.

But the 29-year-old has the full backing of the squad and his captain, with Henderson praising Thiago in his pre-Leipzig press conference on Monday, having shared strong words with his new team-mate at the weekend.

Thiago has been brilliant since he’s come to the club,” Henderson said.

“I think everybody knows how good a player he is, he’s a world-class player.

“He’s been good to have around, even off the field. He’s a really good person, leads by example, gives everything and we’ll learn a lot from him.

“I think he’s been a fantastic addition to the squad. He’s settled in very well, like I knew he would.

“He’s a phenomenal player, and hopefully he can just keep improving each time he plays for us and getting used to the way that we play as a team.”

Thiago is expected to start against RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night, and will come up against a familiar foe, having faced the German side nine times during his spell with Bayern Munich.

He went unbeaten in those nine, winning six and drawing three, including victory in the DFB-Pokal final in 2019, while Thiago himself has scored three and assisted one against Leipzig.

Henderson added: “He’ll probably know Leipzig better than anyone, so I’m sure he’ll be telling us one or two things over the next 24 hours to help with that.”