Graeme Souness has stated his disagreement with Jamie Carragher’s description of Thiago Alcantara as a defensive “liability”.
The classy Spaniard came under fire from the Monday Night Football host for his wasteful tackling in the Reds’ 3-1 loss to Leicester at the weekend, in which an ill-thought out challenge from the No.6 led to the Foxes’ equaliser.
“Well Jamie was a defender. I was a midfield player, I know what it takes to be a good midfield player. I don’t see him as being a liability, that’s a bit extreme,” the Liverpool legend told the Pitch to Post podcast. “There’s no doubt about it – he doesn’t have that high energy pressing the ball all the time, but if you’ve got two either side of him who can do that – whatever he misses he out on on the other side of the game, he will give you on the other side.”
Though we’re delighted to see the 29-year-old’s willingness to pull up his sleeves and get involved in the gritty side to the game, he has struggled at times to pick the most appropriate moment to go into a tackle.
While we appreciate Carragher’s point about the midfielder’s defensive work, to label the La Masia graduate a “liability”, even defensively, seems somewhat over the top.
Arsene Wenger made a similar point prior to Liverpool’s Champions League tie with RB Leipzig, suggesting that Jurgen Klopp’s side had traded some of its intensity in midfield for Thiago’s technical brilliance.
We at the EOTK would have to argue that a good deal of our grit in the centre of the pitch took a vacation when Jordan Henderson and Fabinho were forced to deputise in the backline following our unfathomably brutal injury crisis in defence.
Greater balance will be achieved when the pair eventually return to the midfield three, at which point we’d expect the former Bayern Munich star to be free to express the full extent of his dizzying ability.