Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has labelled Thiago “one of the most overrated players in European football” following the club’s Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.
The 31-year-old was highly influential in Liverpool’s domestic cup double season, in which the Reds sealed FA Cup and League Cup honours, as well as finishing runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.
Question marks over Thiago’s suitability to Jurgen Klopp’s high-octane system have dominated the narrative since the 46-capped Spain international relocated to Anfield from Bayern Munich, with many believing his languid style slows the pace of Liverpool’s press down.
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Hamann is one such critic, with the former anchorman believing Klopp needs to “modernise” his side, and that starts with the culling of midfielders such as Thiago and even Naby Keita.
“In my opinion, the Reds need to modernise the team a bit, especially in midfield,” Hamann wrote in a column for Sky Sport.
“I don’t understand the hype about Thiago. For me he is one of the most overrated players in European football.
“When things are going well and you have a lot of possession he’s a good player, but when push comes to shove you don’t see him.
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“If you need someone who sets accents, then he doesn’t do it.
“[Naby] Keita is also a disappointment, [Jordan] Henderson is a worker. They need a player who can make the difference and give the team that extra something.”
Hamann’s comments come after Thiago enjoyed a stellar campaign for the club, with his zenith coming in that 4-0 win over Manchester United on Merseyside, in which Jamie Carragher lauded the Spaniard’s performance as “the best game he’s ever had at Anfield”.
Following that mauling of their long-term rivals, Klopp even hit out at Thiago’s detractor, believing the midfield metronome is a perfect complement to his playing philosophy.
“People were questioning if he suits our football?” Klopp said in April. “Thank God these people don’t make decisions.
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“If a player is calming a game down in moments due to a lot of reasons – one of them is just to have a look, or whatever – it is of course nothing we thought.
“It is more important Thiago wanted to join us and he knew how we played. He is a real football person and thinks a lot about football. He knew how we played and he knew he we would fit in and we knew it as well.
“It is always about being fit and staying fit and getting used to the slight differences to the former club, whatever these things are in different teams. Then you can go from there. Thiago had only one problem, he was injured and it started with an Everton game, to be honest. That didn’t help. It was never a question if he would suit us. We only signed him because we knew he would help us.”