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Paul Ince makes Thiago prediction after mixed first season at Liverpool

Thiago Alcantara will improve at Liverpool in his second season at the club, according to former Reds midfielder Paul Ince.

The Spain international struggled to find his best form in his debut season at Anfield with a knee injury suffered in October ruling him out of action for two months.

The 30-year-old was a marquee signing at the Reds last summer but was limited to starting just 20 Premier League matches for Jurgen Klopp’s side last campaign.

Thiago is currently on international duty with Spain at Euro 2020 but his lack of prominent game-time at club level last season has played its part in him not playing a starting role for his nation.

Thiago Alcantara and Jurgen Klopp on the final day of the season for Liverpool

The Spaniard has been plagued by fitness issues his entire career and doubts were raised after a first season in which many believed he did not hit the heights he was expected to.

Having played an influential role in the all-conquering Bayern Munich team the previous year, Thiago took time to adapt to the faster pace of the Premier League.

Ince – who spent two seasons as a player at Anfield between 1997 and 1999 – believes that Reds fans will see a much superior player next season as he will have adapted to the demands of the top-flight in England.

Former England international Ince signed for Liverpool having spent two seasons in Italy playing with Inter and he believes that players who switch to English football take time to adjust to the intensity and pace of the division.

Ince told Paddy Power: “Liverpool will see a better Thiago next season, he’s a world-class player. He was very good in the Champions League games, showing his experience and quality, and knows how to control games.

“It’s difficult when you come from teams like Bayern Munich, where you beat teams by three or four goals weekly and you’ve got infinite time on the ball – it’s different in England.

“The Premier League is high octane, more intense, and the opposition will stop him playing. He has not adjusted to the pace of the game yet. We know about his passing quality, and towards the end of the season you could see him adjusting.

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“I know this from my experience of moving from the Premier League to Serie A. It was a completely different pace of football. It takes a while to get used to that pace and adjust.”

Thiago may be set to play an even bigger role for Liverpool next campaign following the exit of Georginio Wijnaldum, who has joined Paris Saint-Germain following the expiration of his Reds contract.

Curtis Jones has been tipped to enjoy greater prominence at Anfield following the exit of the Dutch international, but Thiago will look to come into his own at the club.

The Spaniard, who scored his first Liverpool goal in a home win over Southampton in May, is under contract at the club until 2024.




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