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John Barnes calls for patience with Liverpool’s ‘best player’ Thiago

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Barnes believes the team need to adjust to the system with Thiago in it (Picture: Getty Images)

Thiago has been Liverpool’s ‘best player’ whenever he has featured, but it will take time for Jurgen Klopp’s side to adapt to playing with the midfielder, according to John Barnes.

The 29-year-old completed the switch from Bayern Munich in the summer but his start to life at Anfield was marred by injury. He spent over two months on the sidelines after a knee problem suffered in October’s Merseyside derby and has only returned to action in recent weeks.

Thiago’s return has coincided with a poor run of form for the Reds, with their 1-0 defeat against Burnley on Thursday night not only ending a 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield, but also marking their fifth consecutive league game without a win.

Klopp’s side are without a win in their last five games (Picture: Getty Images)

Criticism has been aimed at the Spaniard from the likes of Dietmar Hamman, who has suggested the midfielder doesn’t fit Klopp’s high-octane brand of football.

Barnes also previously suggested that he ‘slows the game down’, but the Reds legend has now cleared up those remarks and insisted that Liverpool’s recent problems can’t be attributed to Thiago.

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‘Every time Thiago Alcantara has played for Liverpool this season; he’s been the best player on the pitch,’ Barnes told BonusCodeBets.

‘It just so happens that when he plays, the team hasn’t performed too well recently, which makes people think that it’s his fault. You must look at the way the team plays, and the fact that he’s going to be their main playmaker and it’s going to take time for the team to adapt to this.

‘When Thiago has the ball, he moves it so quickly, but because the back four try to give him the ball every time, the ball isn’t moving forward as quickly to the front three it should.

‘He plays the ball quickly, but by the time he drops deep to collect the ball, those extra seconds have passed before the ball reaches the attacking players, which means the space and the time to get the ball is less. It was the exact same when Philippe Coutinho was at Liverpool, and the play always went through him every time too.

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‘By bringing in Thiago and making him our main playmaker, it will take time for the team to get used to the new game plan. It’s not a thing that the front three are suddenly bad players.

‘When you play a midfield three of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, they play the ball much quicker as a team, and Liverpool have been playing this way for a few seasons now.

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‘Thiago has been our best player, and he’s a wonderful player to watch. But, if you change the way we play, then it’s going to take time for the team to adapt.’

MORE : Sean Dyche speaks out on Jurgen Klopp tunnel bust-up in Liverpool’s defeat to Burnley

MORE : John Terry celebrates Chelsea record after Liverpool lose to Burnley

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