Liverpool: Wijnaldum leaving 'will be a blow'
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Liverpool must consider comments from Thiago Alcantara when searching for a replacement for the departed Georginio Wijnaldum. The Spanish midfielder had a mixed debut season after signing from Bayern Munich last summer.
The injuries to Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip forced Jurgen Klopp to deploy Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in central defence.
That in turn saw Thiago played in defensive midfield, a position that does not suit his talents, with the signing called into question by some.
But the emergence of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams as options at the back allowed Klopp to move Fabinho back into his deeper role.
Freed from his defensive responsibilities, Thiago thrived in a more advanced position, putting in a string of impressive performances.
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The positive impact that came from playing Thiago further forward should be at the front of the mind of Klopp and the Reds’ recruitment staff this summer.
They are searching for a replacement for Wijnaldum, who left the Premier League side on a free transfer last season.
The Dutchman split his playing time between the deepest role in midfield and playing further forward last term.
But if Liverpool seek to sign a more attacking-minded player to replace him, that could have a negative impact on Thiago.
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The Spaniard certainly appears to know which position suits him best and his comments should be considered by the Reds this summer.
“I would say it [his ability to create] has been more limited because of a positional issue,” Thiago told L’Equipe.
“If I play number 6 instead of number 10, I’ll have less room to manoeuvre, less freedom to dribble, because I’ll have to take fewer risks.
“In the history of football, strikers have always been admired more than defenders. Because a defender can’t make a mistake, unlike the striker.
“So, for me, it’ s a question of position.”
Thiago’s insistence that he is better placed being selected further forward should guide the Reds in this summer’s window.
Wijnaldum was one of Klopp’s most reliable players, missing only two games in the Reds 53-game campaign in the season just gone.
If they signed a more attacking-minded player and again suffered injuries at the back, or Fabinho was himself sidelined, Thiago would be forced to move further back, negatively impacting both the player and the team as a whole.
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