Thiago had to put up with a lot of criticism in his first year at Liverpool. Now he regularly shines for the Reds – and coach Jürgen Klopp can only laugh about the accusations from his early days.

After a difficult start at Liverpool FC, former Bayern player Thiago has risen to become a top performer in his second season.

The Spaniard is increasingly being celebrated for his performances at the Reds, most recently for his masterstroke in the resounding victory over Manchester United. The teething problems in the first year, caused mainly by injuries, have been overcome. And the critics who questioned the move in the first year have probably fallen silent by now.

On Friday, Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp was repeatedly asked about Thiago at a press conference. Which even caused amusement for the German coach in the meantime. “Some people questioned whether he fits into our football?” Klopp asked incredulously after a journalist’s comments, unable to hold back a laugh.

“Thank God these people don’t make decisions. Really,” the starting coach elaborated with a grin.

Hamann also among the Thiago critics

As a reminder: among the TV pundits who had publicly criticised Thiago a good year ago was former Liverpool player Dietmar Hamann. His view: Thiago played a different style than his new colleagues at Liverpool – and therefore ran the risk of unnecessarily slowing down Klopp’s high-speed attack.

Liverpool legend John Barnes and even long-time Manchester United star Paul Scholes had made similar comments. To this day, Klopp does not understand.

“Thiago wanted to join us, he knew how we play. He is a real football person, he thinks a lot about football, he knew how we play,” Klopp explained. And above all: “He knew he would fit in here and we knew it too.” That’s why he was brought in.

Klopp: That’s why Thiago sometimes calms the game down

When a player calms down a game “for the moment, for many reasons, one of them is to just look at something,” Klopp said of the accusation of slowing down play.

He said they had brought in Thiago as well as Naby Keita, who has been at Liverpool for four years, each the best midfielder in the Bundesliga “by far”. “So of course that was a good idea.”