Former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch has compared new signing Thiago Alcantara to another Red from the past in the form of Xabi Alonso.
Crouch says that he can see similarities between the two players, as they like to receive the ball and then pass it quickly to progress the play, after watching Thiago on his debut against Chelsea.
Thiago joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich earlier this month in a deal reported to be worth around £20m, with the Spaniard joining Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas as Liverpool’s summer arrivals.
Speaking in his Daily Mail Q&A, Crouch offered his thoughts on the Spanish international. “He could play the game in his slippers. I watched that cameo at Chelsea last week and you could tell immediately that Thiago had blown people away in his first training session, as everybody wanted to give him the ball.
“There were some similarities I could see in Thiago with Xabi Alonso. It was the way he gathered the ball, how crisply he passed it. Xabi was a wonderful footballer and he came to my mind when I watched Thiago.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Thiago’s passes might not always look spectacular or split open an entire defence with one ball to create a chance every time, but there is value in the way he dictates the play. His constant recycling of possession drags teams from side to side and can create gaps in the defensive line – allowing for himself or others to play that splitting decisive pass to create a goal.
This means that he could help Liverpool’s build-up play in midfield against teams who play a low-block in defence. Teams that sit deep and try to close out the space could struggle to deal with Thiago’s range of passing if they switch off for even a second.
Alonso played over 200 games for Liverpool and won a Champions League title for the club, so if Thiago can replicate anything similar to that then it will turn out to be a very good signing. Thiago now needs to prove that he can play consistently and effectively for Liverpool in order for them to achieve their goals, albeit he may need a small window of time to adapt to the intensity of the Premier League. It will be very interesting to see how he does if he is given the nod from the start against Arsenal on Monday night.