Jamie Carragher has admitted in his latest Telegraph column that Thiago has been a defensive liability for Liverpool this season.
Thiago has struggled since moving to Anfield in the summer in a deal the BBC reported could eventually be worth up to £25 million.
Carragher said that Thiago’s tackling and lack of speed has seen Liverpool suffer at times – but also defended him.
He said that the Spainard’s arrival hasn’t been a big factor in Liverpool’s poor run and said things could have been different if he’d been able to slot into midfield alongside Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum.
“When games become stretched – like the frantic finale at Leicester last weekend – Thiago struggles,” wrote Carragher. “He lacks pace and his tackling is noticeably erratic. At times, Thiago has been a defensive liability.
“He made another clumsy tackle within 60 seconds against RB Leipzig in midweek, another occasion when he looked certain to be booked.
“Thiago has been required to fulfil the midfield duties he is seemingly less suited to. He was not signed as a ball-winner, yet has made more fouls than any Premier League player.
“I never believed Thiago was signed to play every game. Klopp would have okayed the deal with a plan in mind as he looked to introduce an extra five or 10 per cent into a winning machine.”
There are more detailed defences of Thiago to be found elsewhere in the article, which is insightful and interesting as ever from the best pundit working in the game right now.
Carragher’s point that Liverpool’s plan for Thiago has likely not happened as expected is a salient one.
He could have gradually taken Gini Wijnaldum’s spot in a winning side for certain games if the defence was settled.
In the end, he hasn’t come into anything approaching the Reds’ first choice midfield and he is being asked to do things which he wasn’t signed to do.
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