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Klopp reflects on Thiago’s time at Liverpool – “The start was not perfect”

Spain midfielder Thiago joined Liverpool in a £20million transfer from Bayern Munich exactly 12 months ago after helping the German giants win the continental treble

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Jurgen Klopp previews Crystal Palace clash

Jurgen Klopp has provided an honest assessment of Thiago’s start to life with Liverpool 12 months on from the Spaniard’s arrival on Merseyside.

Thiago, 30, joined the Reds in a £20million transfer from Bayern Munich last September after helping the German giants win the continental treble.

Although he is considered one of the finest midfielders in Europe, he struggled to adapt to life at Anfield after suffering knee ligament damage in October’s Merseyside derby.

Thiago appeared off the pace on his return to fitness, but towards the end of last season he struck up an excellent connection with Fabinho which has carried over to this campaign.



Thiago suffered a serious injury after a tackle from Richarlison which saw the Everton forward sent off
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Image:

Liverpool FC via Getty Images)




While Klopp admits things have not gone to plan for Thiago over the last year, he is adamant the former Barcelona man will light up the Premier League for Liverpool.

“The start was not perfect because he came here, got COVID and got injured early,” said the Reds boss.

“Of course that makes everything a little more difficult. He showed what kind of a player he can and will be for us, so there is much more to come, of course.









“It is now a year, but if you want, it is actually only half a year because of all the things that happened; coming into a new club in the most difficult period of all our lives.

“He settled really well. His family is here and he is the middle of the team and is a really good character and personality, and obviously a world-class player. So all fine.”

Thiago drew criticism for his rash challenges in midfield last season as Fabinho was forced to fill in at the back during Liverpool’s injury crisis.

Who is Liverpool’s greatest ever No.9? Have your say here.

The Spain international was much-improved with the Brazilian enforcer alongside him in the centre of the park, freeing him of some of his defensive duties and allowing his creativity to shine through.

Klopp added: “We want him (Thiago) to play his natural football and there are just a couple of things he has to adapt for how we play. He did that. That’s all fine.

“I don’t ask him for constant runs beyond the last line. He is a playmaker, obviously, who can sometimes be a little deeper.



Thiago picked up an assist during a brilliant performance against Leeds United
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Image:

PA)




“But he must be there in the two interesting lines of the opponent as well.”

Thiago picked up an assist in Liverpool’s last Premier League game, the 3-0 victory at Leeds United last weekend, and he will hope to start Saturday’s home encounter with Crystal Palace.

He was handed a spot on the bench for the 3-2 win over AC Milan in the Champions League in midweek, making a substitute appearance in the second half.


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