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The German head coach has talked up the talents of the ex-Bayern Munich star ahead of the Reds’ clash with Arsenal

Thiago Alcantara is “still a kid” when he has possession of the ball, according to Jurgen Klopp, who says Liverpool‘s new playmaker is a “really interesting package”.

Liverpool snapped up Thiago from Bayern Munich for the bargain price of £20 million ($26m) on September 18, bringing to an end one of the longest-running transfer sagas of the summer.

He was handed his debut for the Reds just two later, as he produced an impressive cameo display from the bench during the 2-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Spain international set a new record for the number of passes completed in a single Premier League contest, and is now being tipped to spearhead Liverpool’s pursuit of major trophies across all competitions in 2020-21.

Ahead of a meeting with Arsenal at Anfield on Monday night, Klopp has outlined the qualities which set Thiago apart from his peers and praised him for his professionalism and maturity away from the pitch.

“Thiago is obviously a very good football player,” Klopp told Sky Sports of the 29-year-old, who is facing a late fitness test before the clash against the Gunners.

“You saw it [against Chelsea]. Some things are natural for him that are not natural for other players, but we won the league and we won the Champions League without Thiago. He won it with Bayern, so obviously it is a good fit I would say, but we now have to get used to each other.

“There are very special things [he has that separates him from others] in world football. His vision is exceptional, pair that with pretty good technical skills, and a nice passing ability and these kinds of things, and you become a really interesting package. That’s what Thiago is.

“On top of that as a guy, he couldn’t be better. It’s incredible, when you give him a ball, he is still a kid. When you take the ball away he is a really mature and experienced football person, who is interested in a lot of things, tactics and all these kind of things. He wants to learn which is very important.”

Liverpool have also added Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota to their ranks during the summer window, increasing competition for places at Anfield significantly following a first league title triumph in 30 years.

Klopp now has over 30 players at his disposal, but he would rather have a more compact squad due to the fact he will be unable to guarantee everyone in the group regular minutes.

“You cannot or you should not have a 30-player squad. That makes no sense we don’t have enough games for that,” he said. “The schedule for professional football players, especially if you play for the national team, is really on the edge and we try to do what we can by rotation.

“We will see how we can sort it, but you cannot leave a team in the garage and take them out every two or three weeks. It’s not like an old car in your garage and on a Sunday you take it out.

“There will be difficult situations where you miss a player here or there so we will see how we can deal with that, but 30 players for sure is not something we are looking for.”

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September 28, 2020
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