Thiago breaks down "learning" at Liverpool and downplays Klopp’s role

Thiago Alcantara has opened up on the learning process he has had to undertake since joining Liverpool last summer.

Signed from Bayern Munich, the Spaniard was expected to have a major impact within Jurgen Klopp’s squad – and the Premier League as a whole.

But it hasn’t all gone to plan for the classy midfielder, with injuries, a coronavirus diagnosis and missing teammates all contributing to some early struggles.

Thiago’s defensive qualities have been questioned, as well as his ability to adapt to Jurgen Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ footballing style.

After previously playing in the Bundesliga and La Liga, he has admitted that England’s top-flight contributes to a very different style of play.

“[The Premier League] is a different league and that obviously leads to a difference in the way we want to play as a team,” he told AS.

“The way we approach games is different to Bayern, just as they way we approached games at Bayern was different to Barcelona.

“It’s a period of evolution, of learning. It’s about developing into a better player year on year, if possible.”

Asked about what Klopp demands off the ball, Thiago added that the differences could be more attributed to the players within the squad, as well as the high-paced intensity of the Premier League.

“The comparison isn’t just down to the coaches; it’s also about the players you have alongside you,” he continued.

“Right now we have really quick guys up top who are really useful when you play balls in behind the opposition defence, but who also give you a lot when you play it to them into feet. You have the option of playing two different types of pass.

“In the Premier League, the time the ball is in play is greater than in other competitions. And the individual battles are different; in the Premier League, you’re constantly in an individual battle and that’s a difference between England and other leagues.”

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Thiago is yet to play in front of a full Anfield, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing football played behind closed doors since Project Restart last June.

And he believes playing in empty stadiums is yet another thing he has been forced to adapt to in an unusual opening season at the club.

“Without fans in the stands, football loses a large part of what it’s all about. We’re playing in empty stadiums and it’s been a process of re-adaptation, because at a young age you get used to playing at grounds without fans, with just the parents shouting you on.

“But now we’re all used to playing with fans in the stands; we really miss it so much. You yearn for it every single day.”

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