Liverpool train ahead of Villarreal clash
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Manchester United hero Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Liverpool star Thiago Alcantara wanted to move to Old Trafford before putting pen-to-paper on a deal at Anfield. The Merseysiders shelled out £20million to prise the midfielder away from Bayern Munich in 2020.
“Thiago has been the standout midfielder for the last few weeks and months – he’s been absolutely top,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with FIVE YouTube channel. “You look at his stats. Thiago’s pass accuracy by the way in the last two games against Everton and Man Utd – 98.4 per cent against Everton and 95.6 per cent against Everton. That is ridiculous.
“I spoke to him at the time – he speaks perfect English. He was a great guy, wanted to come to United. But you look at him now and he couldn’t be happier.”
Thiago endured a tough start to his Liverpool career as he initially struggled to make an impact on Jurgen Klopp’s side. But this season he has become an important player for the Reds. And his form has helped his team put themselves in the frame to win a historic quadruple.
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Thiago has made 31 appearances for the Reds this season and started both legs of his side’s Champions League last 16 showdown with Inter Milan, as well as the first leg of their quarter-final encounter with Benfica. He has also been a regular in the Premier League.
But the ace was criticised for some of his displays during his debut season at Anfield last time around. And Ferdinand believes the 31-year-old is the perfect example of why players need time to find their feet when they move to a different country.
“What I would like to talk about just with Thiago is that you could have gone to a huge amount of the fanbase after last season and [they] would have said, ‘he isn’t good enough for us, he isn’t the player he thought he was – German League, Bundesliga, he’s slowing us down, let’s get him out.’
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“There were ex-players I saw saying, ‘he’s side to side, doesn’t play the ball forward – he isn’t ready-made for this league.’ Players need time.”
Meanwhile, Ferdinand believes the Red Devils should take a leaf out of Liverpool’s book and be a bit more patient with new managers and players at Old Trafford. “It goes back to this thing with managers and Man Utd as well,” the ex-England defender added.
“The club need to give the manager at Man Utd patience. The clubs need and the fans need to give players that come in from other leagues especially patience. [Jadon] Sancho is another example. I bet you see a better player with Sancho next season for sure.”
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