It would be fair to say that since his summer move to Liverpool, Thiago Alcantara has received plenty of criticism.
Particularly in the Premier League, the Spaniard has seemingly struggled to get up to speed with the English game and the demands of the reigning champions.
However, that couldn’t have been further from the truth against RB Leipzig in Budapest on Wednesday evening.
As Liverpool secured their place in the competition’s quarter-finals with a 4-0 aggregate success, 29-year-old Thiago quietly turned in an extremely impressive showing.
Partnered with Fabinho and Georginio Wijnaldum in the centre of the park, the £43.2m-rated former Bayern Munich man was instrumental in limiting the German side throughout the clash.
According to WhoScored, he contributed six tackles, which was more than any other player on the pitch. He also managed one interception and two clearances.
These defensive contributions were key as they helped silence RB Leipzig’s supremely talented midfield trio of Marcel Sabitzer, Kevin Kampl and Dani Olmo.
Thiago wasn’t quite finished there though as he also got involved in the attacking side of the game too, having one shot on target, making one key pass and also completing a dribble.
He was also extremely reliable on the ball, having only been dispossessed once throughout the 90 minutes, an extremely impressive count considering that he was firmly involved in the battle arena of midfield.
Reds’ manager Jurgen Klopp was also supremely impressed with Thiago’s showing throughout the game, labelling criticism directed the Spaniard’s way in the first-half of the campaign as “rubbish” as a result.
Considering his somewhat slow start to life at Anfield, Thiago’s display against Leipzig was the type of all-action performance that Liverpool, and the player himself, needed to justify his place in the side.
Klopp has continued to keep faith in Thiago and last night, the Spaniard repaid that faith. If he can replicate that in the league, he will be well on the way to banishing his critics for good.
AND in more news, the Reds must make a move for PSV Eindhoven’s Donyell Malen…