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Jurgen Klopp rubbishes German criticism of his “long-term project” Thiago

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Jurgen Klopp has labelled criticism of Thiago from Germany as “rubbish,” describing the Liverpool midfielder as a “long-term project” who is still adapting to his gameplan.

Thiago has found himself under the microscope since swapping Bayern Munich for Liverpool, and unsurprisingly so given he is one of the biggest signings the club has made in recent history.

It has been a difficult adjustment period for the Spaniard, who went from a settled role with the Bundesliga champions to a disjointed start hampered by injury and illness, as well as a number of absences around him.

Wednesday night was only the second time Thiago started alongside Fabinho in the middle of the park, and the presence of the Brazilian in the No. 6 role was a visible boost.

Relieved of the increased defensive responsibility he has taken up with Gini Wijnaldum as the deep-lying midfielder, the 29-year-old was able to push further forward and flex his creative muscle.

Perhaps only now will Liverpool fans see the best of Thiago, which could end muted speculation over a premature end to his time on Merseyside, as fuelled by the media in Germany.

Lothar Matthaus, a Bayern legend, told Sky Deutschland in February that Thiago should return to Munich as “he’s not getting on in Liverpool” and “the door is certainly never completely closed” due to his emotional farewell.

Questioned by German journalist on Thiago‘s importance following the 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig, Klopp addressed the representation of his player in his native country, and explained how he is “not a short-term project.”

Thiago was good. I mean they were all good, when Naby came on that was also very good and it was helpful,” he said of the win.

“I assume when you look at Liverpool from Germany, people are saying ‘it’s to do with Thiago‘ or whatever. That’s rubbish.

“All of the players that were new have always needed some time to get used to our gameplan, but obviously Thiago doesn’t have that [time] yet.

“But he improves week on week. It’s not a short-term project, it’s a long-term project.”

NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 30, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara during the FA Premier League match between Newcastle United FC and Liverpool FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It should not be forgotten that, despite his experience, Thiago has been required to perform almost immediately in difficult circumstances, and that his Liverpool career is still in its infancy.

He has still only played 18 times this season, with his 1,331 minutes clocked fewer than 11 of his team-mates, including fellow midfielders Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones and James Milner.

Despite his pedigree, Thiago will still need time to adjust to life at his new club, and this will hopefully now be aided by the regular return of Fabinho to the engine room.


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