Thiago Alcantara hasn’t enjoyed the best of his starts to his Liverpool career – and his part in Manchester United’s winner on Sunday won’t have endeared him to Reds fans any further.
With the FA Cup fourth-round tie poised at 2-2, Fabinho was adjudged to have fouled Edinson Cavani just outside the area.
Bruno Fernandes sent the resulting spot-kick into the net to win it for United at Old Trafford against their out-of-form rivals.
At first glance it appeared a moment of brilliance from substitute Fernandes. However, replays showed Thiago didn’t do his side any favours.
The midfielder appeared to duck underneath the ball, allowing Fernandes’ set-piece to fly past Alisson and into the bottom corner.
When the two-time Champions League winner made the decision to trade Bayern Munich for Liverpool in September, it looked like a great bit of business by Jurgen Klopp.
Over four months on, it hasn’t quite gone to plan. A positive covid test was followed by a further spell on the sidelines through injury.
Liverpool still haven’t won a game that Thiago has started, and former Reds man Dietmar Hamann reckons the Spaniard is making Liverpool worse – not better.
Hamann said: “He slows things down and doesn’t really play the way Liverpool play.”
“Liverpool in the past have had hard-working midfielders. They weren’t as skilful as Thiago, but they gave the ball to Sadio Mane and Mo Salah early.”
“I just feel with Thiago, everyone was raving about him coming to Liverpool, he’s hardly played.”
“He’s a good player, a skilful player. But there was never a time in Munich where people said, ‘oh, he’s the first on the teamsheet’. So, I’d be very cautious when it comes to Thiago.”
“And the other thing is, he plays a different style of football. He likes to be in possession.”
“Liverpool were always good when they weren’t in possession, won it and played quickly forward.
“He’s not that type of player, so it will be very interesting when he does play more often now how it’s going to change the dynamics of the team.”