Liverpool’s midfield maestro Thiago Alcantara has been praised after another consummate display for the Reds.
Thiago, who joined from Bayern Munich in 2020, enjoyed a rather slow start to life on Merseyside, having been blighted by injuries but in recent weeks has seen his form explode, with notable performances against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final, Manchester United in the league and now Wednesday night against Villarreal.
The pundits on BT Sport, the host broadcaster in the UK, praised the Spaniard after the game, with Michael Owen suggesting that Thiago had really arrived at Liverpool in recent weeks.
Reds midfielder Thiago Alcantara (pictured above) was given the Player of the Match award
He said: ‘I don’t think anyone ever doubted his quality, but they did doubt whether he could fit into this team. Because I think naturally he’s a number six, but a playmaking number six, almost like a quarterback.’
‘But Liverpool don’t really play with that, they like playing with more of a defensive player in Fabinho. But this guy [Thiago], especially in the last month, has just come into his own,’ he added.
‘He’s literally dictating the play. Long, short passes. His passing accuracy is staggering – 96% I’m told today.’
Peter Crouch praised Thiago Alcantara with playing meaningful and incisive passes
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand praised the Spaniards on-field intelligence
Michael Owen said the Liverpool man had finally arrived in recent weeks on the back of a stunning month or so for the player
Meanwhile, Peter Crouch, on punditry duty alongside Owen, echoed his sentiments suggesting that Thiago’s play has real meaning and impetus to it.
‘I think sometimes those stats can be misleading, the 96, 98 percent from players who give it five, 10 yards,’ he said. ‘He wins the ball and he’s hitting it 30, 40 yards or he’s playing it through the lines. He’s not someone who passes sideways and backwards.’
Thiago’s midfield masterclass
34 final third passes
96.3% passing accuracy
9 accurate long balls
Thiago gazes to the heavens on a wonderful night for him and his Liverpool teammates
‘He creates things, but the passes are completed every time. He’s gone up a few levels in the last three, four games without a doubt.’
Rio Ferdinand, who drew on his own personal encounters with the player when praising him, said it is his intelligence that really shines through for him.
‘He’s an intelligent guy. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a bit of time with him and his intelligence is the thing that strikes you straight away,’ the former Manchester United player said.
‘Off the pitch but on the pitch it’s there for everyone to see. It’s like he’s practicing and testing things out on this stage and it always comes off,’ he went on.
Meanwhile, fans on Twitter echoed the BT pundits with one claiming there was a new ‘king’ in Liverpool.
Responding to a tweet from the club account captioned ‘shining under the Anfield lights again’, Liverpool fans praised their Spanish technician.
‘New king in town,’ the fan wrote.
Another noted the number of stellar performances Thiago had put in recently: ‘Been putting in so many MOTM performances,’ they wrote.
‘What a player we had with us. A joy to watch him play,’ another tweeted.
Thiago controlled the game for Liverpool from start to finish against a resolute if toothless Villarreal side
Thiago, whose man of the match performances have all been praised as coming in big fixtures recently for the club, was credited by one fan as ‘producing masterclasses at the right time’ for the club.
‘Producing masterclasses at the right time yet another well deserved MOTM’.
While another said the football Thiago was currently playing was ‘out of this world’.
‘The football Thiago Alcantara is playing currently is out of this world! What a player!’ they wrote.
Another Liverpool wrote that Thiago was ‘pulling out 10/10 performances every game’.
Jurgen Klopp and Thiago embrace after Liverpool took another step toward the unprecedented quadruple