Thiago Alcantara responds to accusation he is to blame for Liverpool’s poor form

Thiago Alcantara has responded to accusations he is to blame for Liverpool’s loss of form by making it clear he is fully aware of his duties in the Reds’ midfield.

After making just two appearances prior to sustaining an injury in October’s Merseyside derby, the Spaniard has finally managed to get his Liverpool career up and running following his recovery.

Sadly for him that has coincided with Liverpool’s worst patch of form for some time.

Thiago returned for the draw at Newcastle, and was involved for the subsequent defeats to Southampton, Burnley and Man Utd in the FA Cup.

It’s hard to fathom that the inclusion of a world class midfielder of Thiago’s ilk would have a negative impact on his side, but that is exactly what former red John Barnes suggested.

Thiago has responded to claims he is slowing Liverpool’s play down

“With [Jordan] Henderson and Fabinho in midfield, they just get the ball forward and are much more direct for the three strong-running strikers to get on the ball and go on attack, Thiago slows the game down,” Barnes told talkSPORT after Liverpool’s Premier League draw with Man Utd.

“When he slowed the game down in tight areas, that is not [Sadio] Mane’s game, that is not [Mo] Salah’s game. So we’re getting used to a new system, but at the moment it’s not working.”

It was a feeling echoed by another club legend, Dietmar Hamann, who told Stadium Astro : “I think Liverpool’s always been a team that’s played the ball forward quickly.

“I know teams sit back against them, but that doesn’t mean slowing the game down helps Liverpool.

Liverpool have struggled to break down their opponents in recent matches
Liverpool have struggled to break down their opponents in recent matches

“I think the time they lose by giving him {Thiago] the ball is time they lose giving it to Salah or Mane quickly.”

Thiago has proven himself to be a pass master over the years, marauding in the midfields of great Barcelona and Bayern Munich sides.

And he was quick to dismiss any notion that he is not giving Liverpool’s strikers the service they require.

“Liverpool’s transition is so important,” he told BT Sport . “It’s first touch, and follow the game.

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It’s been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp’s men.

They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.

Virgil van Dijk’s season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson’s injury worries too.

But there’s no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.

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“Transitioning means that with fast players you must give a good pass in the right moment, at a nice speed as well.

“It doesn’t mean that you have to do a long ball, no, it means do a sharp pass in the right moment to the right players.”

Liverpool have found it hard to break their opposition down in recent matches, though have hardly been helped with the defensive tactics deployed against them.

Thiago continued: “Against deeper teams if you score the first goal then the game is more open and you have more time to transition.

“If you are 0-0 then we don’t have time for that transition because they (opposition) don’t come up (the pitch) so we can’t make the counter pass and move forward again.”

What has been the main reason for Liverpool’s poor form? Have your say below.

Thiago insists Liverpool can pull themselves back into the title race
Thiago insists Liverpool can pull themselves back into the title race

The reigning champions are now looking to get their title defence back on track, but Thiago feels their recent results are not down to them being outplayed.

“If you look back on the last six games you ask, ‘how many of those games did you deserve to win?’

“It’s not about playing better or worse, it’s whether you deserved to win. Most of them we deserved to win.”

He added: “We still have a chance for the Premier League and Champions League, so we are very focused and we have this hunger inside that we want to win the first game that comes and we went to overcome this situation and we are going to win again.”

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