Liverpool: Thiago's critical weakness in the Premier League revealed before Everton clash

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Thiago Alcantara has been a walking talking point since his Liverpool move.

There was real excitement when the Reds secured a move for the Spanish general last summer on the back of a season that saw him win a historic treble with Bayern Munich.

And Kopites could have been forgiven for thinking that Thiago would take the Premier League by storm given his classy and metronomic performances on the way to Champions League glory.

A divisive player

However, things haven't quite worked out that way. In fact, it's taken until 2021 for Thiago to really establish himself in this Liverpool side with injuries blighting his first few months at Anfield.

But even his long-awaited return from the treatment table didn't produce the fireworks that many would have expected with some pundits and fans really driving the knife into his displays.

It really is a bewildering situation with some insisting that Thiago has been one of Liverpool's best performers and others arguing that he's slowing down Jurgen Klopp's system.

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Thiago's biggest flaw?

Either way, considering how Thiago's return has coincided with Liverpool's downward spiral out of the Premier League title race, it's fair to say that there's trouble in paradise.

And it seems as though the divisive nature of Thiago's performances in the famous red jersey could be down to his defensive frailties.

We say that because fascinating research from the Daily Mail using Opta data has shown that Thiago has some of the worst defensive statistics in the entire Premier League this season.

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Thiago's defensive statistics

Since his arrival in September, Thiago ranks highest amongst the Liverpool squad for minutes per tackle at 33.

Pretty positive, right? Well, marry that to Thiago's rate of a foul every 32 minutes and the worrying nature of his heavy-handed defensive approach becomes painfully apparent.

That's the third-highest rate in the entire Premier League with Burnley's Ashley Barnes and Aston Villa's Trezeguet proving the only two players to commit fouls more frequently.

In fact, rather staggeringly, Thiago has committed more fouls (26) than he has successful tackles (25) in his 11 Premier League appearances so far.

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And even more alarmingly, Thiago boasts the highest minutes-per-yellow-card rate of anybody in the Liverpool squad with an average of a caution every 274 minutes or approximately three games.

It's not even par for the course across Thiago's career with his first year at Liverpool seeing his highest ever minutes-per-foul ratio, while his 2013/14 campaign in Germany places second.

It really makes you wonder whether we should have seen the writing on the wall when Thiago conceded a penalty just 27 minutes into his Premier League debut against Chelsea, doesn't it?

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But as undoubtedly worrying as those statistics are, it's important to remember that Thiago is still finding his feet in the Premier League and there's denying that he's a world-class operator.

So, make no mistake that Thiago deserves more slack than he's receiving but equally, there's no getting away from the fact that he should be a little less Paul Scholes when it comes to tackling.

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