Jurgen Klopp declared “thank God these people don’t make decisions” when asked if in-form Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara had won over his doubters.
Thiago arrived from Bayern Munich ahead of the 2020-21 season with many pundits questioning whether he would slow down Liverpool’s high-octane game and if he could adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.
A maiden campaign disrupted by injury, and one that saw depleted Liverpool scramble to secure Champions League football, may have given rise to those who hold such a viewpoint.
But it always looked a sketchy opinion at best and Thiago is sparkling in a Reds side who still hold aspirations of a sensational quadruple.
Having dominated Manchester City in last week’s FA Cup semi-final with his exquisite range of passing, the Spain international repeated the trick in a 4-0 dismantling of rivals Manchester United in midweek.
For Liverpool boss Klopp there was never any doubt about the qualities Thiago would bring to his midfield.
“People questioned if he suits us? Thank God these people don’t make decisions,” Klopp said ahead of Sunday’s Merseyside derby against Everton.
“If a player calms games down in moments, it’s just of course nothing we thought. Thiago wanted to join us and he knew how we play. He thinks a lot about football.
“I don’t like to talk too much about one player. Not that he doesn’t deserve it but I leave this room and I can hear that such and such a player is injured, so let’s just carry on.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 21, 2022
Liverpool have already secured the EFL Cup this season, are in the final of the FA Cup, have a semi-final against Villarreal in the Champions League on the horizon, and trail City by a solitary point in a thrilling title race.
Klopp concedes such pressure is not always the most enjoyable experience for this star-studded squad.
“[They don’t enjoy it] all the time, but a lot. It’s an incredibly tough situation and we play pretty much all the time,” he added.
“We love the situation we are in. You cannot plan being in everything. We won one competition, that’s great, but there are still three more competitions to go.
“We are looking forward to everything that is coming up.”
While the red side of Merseyside is rocking, Everton are in a perilous position.
The Toffees are just a point above the drop zone after Burnley defeated Southampton on Thursday, albeit with a game in hand, and are in a desperate situation as the season draws to a close.
Klopp hopes Frank Lampard’s side can find a way to stave off the drop.
“Of course [I would miss playing Everton],” he said.
“Playing United the other night makes it different, usually the full week before you play Everton there are full talks about the derby.”
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