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Thiago can prove Liverpool myth wrong in Man United game due to Bruno Fernandes

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Liverpool versus Manchester United brings several key battles across the pitch, but few will be as interesting - nor important to the result - as Thiago Alcantara facing Bruno Fernandes.

Both players, even though the Spaniard has only played five times for the Reds, have made a huge difference to their teammates since arriving, Fernandes around a year ago from Sporting Lisbon, and Thiago from Bayern Munich in the summer.



Fernandes has established himself as one of the Premier League's most potent threats, scoring 27 times and providing 17 assists for Manchester United in just 48 appearances to date, but that is not a reason for concern over Thiago on Sunday.



"Thiago up against Fernandes, I would be quite confident," said Josh Williams on the Analysing Anfield podcast.



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"Thiago’s work off the ball is quite underrated and he is not one of those passive, luxury types that you need to carry. You don’t need to partner him with a doggish type player who can put his foot in because Thiago has a little bit of that about him.

"He has played at the top level against top number 10s and I think he will cope relatively well, but it is keeping a presence around him for the whole game.

"Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum do offer a lot of defensive stability in addition to what they offer on the ball."

While defensively there might be no big worry, that is not to say that a player of Fernandes' quality cannot find space and deliver a decisive pass.

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But having Thiago in the centre of the pitch will not take anything away defensively compared to any other Liverpool player as some might think.

In addition to that, Liverpool will find a huge benefit going the other way against a team who are likely to sit deep at times and attempt to counter-attack.

"Liverpool will benefit when the ball is turned over because Thiago can get the ball so much quicker up to Liverpool’s forwards," added David Hughes.

"United will sit in for large periods. We’ve spoken in recent weeks that Liverpool’s fixtures have lacked that competitive edge and it has been attack versus defence.

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"This game, at least in comparison to those, will be a little bit more open, and Liverpool’s attackers will have more space.

"Having Thiago to hit them with pinpoint passes when possession is turned over, that could play into Liverpool’s hands a little bit."

By showcasing his defensive awareness as well as his ability to transform defence into attack on Sunday, Thiago can prove plenty of people wrong regarding the type of player he really is.

The Spanish midfielder's intelligence extends well beyond what he can do when passing a ball - and against Fernandes, there is no better time for that to shine.


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