InterviewThiago, student and teacher
Thiago Alcantara is currently both student and teacher in pre-season.
The Liverpool No.6 has taken a leading role in supporting Darwin Nunez’s adaptation to the club since his arrival in the summer, given their shared language of Spanish.
As one of the most experienced players in the Reds squad, Thiago has happily been on hand to impart any wisdom that can aid the settling-in of Nunez, who struck four goals in Thursday’s 5-0 pre-season win at RB Leipzig.
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“You start to know a new lad coming in our team. You always want that he is happy in the team, happy with us, happy and confident with himself,” Thiago told Liverpoolfc.com at the ongoing training camp in Austria.
“I think he turned over this first adaptation with these four goals and it’s important for him and important for us.
“At one point in our life we were the young guy in the team and someone helped us. So you use that experience to help the young players that come.
“Because of the language I try to help him as much as I can and make him part of our sessions and our team.”
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Goals, saves and much more from Saturday's morning session
Equally, though, the 31-year-old Thiago remains eagerly open to feedback on his own game and opportunities to improve it, as he prepares for his third campaign at Anfield.
The midfielder laughed towards the end of last season that Jürgen Klopp had taught him running and he expects to mature further in 2022-23.
“More than running itself, it’s more about the proper running – high intensity and also the right sprints in the right moments,” he said of the influence the boss has had on him.
“You improve in that, you improve for your team as well. As a player you grow up with that.
“It was an important experience that I lived, these two years under the manager’s teaching, but it will be even better this season.
“It was nice to be here from the beginning. We had a long travel in Asia, Bangkok and Singapore; we really felt the warmth of the fans there.
“Now we start the heavy part of the pre-season. We start to run and to play more intense, as we want. So far, so good.
“It’s always good to prepare yourself as much as you can. Not just as an individual matter but also with the football ideas we have.”
His ambitions for the forthcoming campaign are, however, certainly not in flux.
After the Reds played 63 games across four competitions last term, winning the Emirates FA Cup and Carabao Cup, Thiago is ready for another tilt at major honours.
The Spain international added: “It’s always group achievements in my head: try to win all the trophies we can, try to win as many games as we can and put in a high performance.”