There was a lot of hype around Thiago Alcântara when he arrived at Liverpool from Bayern Munich last summer.
He missed the first two leagues matches after testing positive for Covid-19, and a knee injury in October kept him out of action until the end of December.
The midfielder has 11 league appearances and the Reds have managed to win only two of those fixtures. This includes three consecutive league defeats, with the last one coming against Leicester City on Saturday.
Alisson Becker’s errors cost the Merseyside club three points against Manchester City and the goalkeeper was also at fault for the second goal in their 3-1 defeat to Brendan Rodgers’ side.
‘The great Liverpool is missing’, stated L’Equipe on Sunday, a day after their loss against the Foxes.
When analysing the recent poor performances, the newspaper states there are ‘three constants in this dark phase of the Reds’ post-title life’. They are Alisson’s mistakes, injuries to centre-backs and the ‘unanswered questions that accompany Thiago’.
Jürgen Klopp has been forced to use Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in the heart of side’s defence due to injuries.
L’Equipe state Henderson is ‘missing in the midfield’, the same position where Thiago ‘continues to be unrecognisable’.
Klopp started James Milner against Leicester, but an injury forced him to bring the former Bayern star on very early, or ‘at least his shadow’ say L’Equipe.
Former Netherlands international Willem van Hanegem, in his column for Algemeen Dagblad, states he predicted Liverpool’s struggles and had warned Georginio Wijnaldum about it.
“Liverpool, that’s the classic story of a team that has won a lot and is now falling apart because players don’t do it for each other anymore. I saw it go wrong early this season. That’s what I said to Georginio Wijnaldum: you’re not doing well,” Van Hanegem said.
“Something like that starts with little things. Up front, sometimes they didn’t give each other the ball anymore. Plus they were unlucky that Van Dijk dropped out. The captain is no longer there, with his leadership qualities and his charisma.
“Thiago, a lot of people think that’s such a great player by the way. I like him myself, but he’s mostly good for himself. Go and watch him, with him it’s often: chipping the ball over someone’s leg, giving balls with outside foot. Nice actions for himself, but the team doesn’t get any wiser.”