Liverpool news: Coaching staff identify reason for Thiago's struggles

Liverpool star Thiago has been criticised

Coaching staff at Liverpool believe Thiago's struggles since joining the club can be explained by the upheaval around him, according to The Athletic

What upheaval? 

The fact that the Spanish international has had to play in a midfield without the likes of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho this season isn't thought to have helped. Amid an injury crisis at Anfield, they have largely been shifted into central defence, depriving Jurgen Klopp of what looked to be his first-choice midfield when Thiago originally signed in September. 

Have there been any other problems? 

Indeed, the 30-year-old contracted COVID-19 only a few weeks after joining the club and was then injured during October's controversial Merseyside derby, missing seventeen games with a knee issue. 

How is he performing? 

While the midfielder has been criticised at times by the likes of Jamie Carragher, it's important to remember this is a man who has shone on the biggest stage of them all, namely last season's Champions League final in which he made the most passes, most ball recoveries and most tackles out of anyone on the pitch.  

According to WhoScored data, no Liverpool player has averaged as many tackles per game than him (2.2) while only Henderson and Fabinho have managed more interceptions over the same period. 

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Thiago is also the only central midfield option averaging over a key pass per game (1.1) and was hailed as the 'dream' partner for Fabinho by Ian Wright at the end of March. 

Should Liverpool be worried? 

Clearly, the fact he is yet to wholly convince and was left out of the side who drew with Real Madrid is a worry but there are plenty of mitigating factors as to why he might not be quite at the level we saw at Bayern Munich. 

The underlying stats do at least point to a central midfielder making a difference, with more surely to come. 

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