Adrian Durham has rejected any suggestion that Thiago Alcantara controlled proceedings during Liverpool’s clash against Manchester United on Sunday.
Thiago earned huge praise for his display in the goalless draw at Anfield, however, a small minority believe he’s actually doing more harm than good to his side.
John Barnes told talkSPORT on Monday that the midfielder slowed attacks down which was to the detriment of a team that’s built success on high pressing and rapid attacks.
But Durham went further than Barnes, claiming Thiago is a ‘luxury player’ to Jurgen Klopp’s side and is not actually well suited to their style of play.
He said on Drivetime: “I think there’s something more deeply wrong with the football team.
“The big one yesterday is that everyone was raving about Thiago… I heard he was ‘controlling the game’. Well if he was controlling the game then why were Liverpool not effective?
“Thiago is clearly a very talented player who’s had an incredible career but he’s coming up to 30 at the end of the season. Has his best gone behind him? Is that it now for him?
“We’ve hardly seen him for Liverpool. Some people might have him in the Team of the Year already but I think that’s based on what he’s done at other clubs.
“Let’s have a look at what he’s done in this Liverpool team.
“He’s played six games – lost 1-0 at Southampton, drew 0-0 at Newcastle, drew 0-0 at Man United, they won 2-0 at Chelsea. He came on at half time when Chelsea were down to ten men. He played 90 at Everton and drew 2-2, he played at Aston Villa in the FA Cup and came on at half time when the kids used up all their energy.
Thiago’s Liverpool career so far
*Matches in the Premier League unless stated
- Chelsea away – September 20, 2020 (Won 2-0)
- Everton away – October 17, 2020 (Drew 2-2)
- Newcastle away – December 30, 2020 (Drew 0-0)
- Southampton away – January 4, 2021 (Lost 1-0)
- Aston Villa away (FA Cup) – January 8, 2021 (Won 4-1)
- Manchester United home – January 17, 2021 (Drew 0-0)
“He is neat, he is tidy, he can pass the ball but results wise he’s having very little impact.
“Why? Because he’s a luxury player in this Liverpool team. They cannot carry him in front of a make-shift defence and with a three-man midfield. It’s basically a two-man midfield with him spraying around a few passes that might come off.
“He doesn’t do the hard graft, doesn’t do the running or tackling, doesn’t do the cover work, doesn’t do the dirty stuff that that original three-man Liverpool midfield needs to do.
“They were all action, dynamos, every single one of them. He slows it down. They’ve gone from heavy metal to lift music with Thiago.”