Press conferenceThiago: We can achieve anything when we're at our best
Thiago Alcantara is thriving on the challenge of trying to help Liverpool achieve further success under Jürgen Klopp as he aims to demonstrate his qualities on a consistent basis.
The midfielder was restricted to just 30 appearances in all competitions during his first season with the Reds after signing from Bayern Munich in September 2020.
However, Thiago returned from a recent injury to mark a first Premier League start since September with a trademark classy display in Saturday’s 4-0 demolition of Arsenal at Anfield.
The No.6 is now aiming to kick on and do all he can to assist Liverpool in their pursuit of adding more silverware to the trophy cabinet.
Read on to see what Thiago had to say in full when speaking at a press conference on Tuesday to preview the Champions League encounter with FC Porto.
On his return to the starting line-up against Arsenal and his performance…
First of all, we tried to avoid all the injury situations with hard work and also with our daily routines. We changed some things to make that not happen, but in the end it is part of our job as well. The most important thing is to be fit and ready for the team when you are [fit] – and I think the game against Arsenal was a boost of new energy for us to keep making our game in front of our crowd. It was great: against a traditional, great team, we played our football and we won with that.
On Liverpool being unbeaten when he’s partnered Fabinho in midfield…
As I said when I came here, first of all it’s about trying to win all the games we can, bringing a high performance with that, and also to learn about the football that the coach wants us to play and put that into practice. For me, the most important thing for this team is the hunger we have every game; it doesn’t matter against who we play, we want to win and we want to win our way. It’s not just about who plays, it’s more about the group. It doesn’t matter if [I’m] alongside Fabinho or Fabinho is alongside another player, everybody must perform at the highest level.
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Klopp and Thiago's pre-match press conference
On what he’s learned about winning the Champions League…
I learned it’s very, very tough to win a Champions League and in more than 10 years of my career, I had the opportunity to be in two finals. So, you can say I won twice but I lost more than eight, so it’s very tough through every stage because we are playing against the best teams and players in the world. We just have to bring our best level to reach it and be better in every game – and with that, if we are in our best mood we can achieve everything.
On the current strength of English football…
I think every country has its moments in football history. Some years ago it was Spain with winners in the Europa League, winners in the Champions League and also the national team performed in an amazing way. Now, in the last years, England had an amazingly successful performance in the international competitions. As I said, with English football and the Premier League, it was always I think the strongest league in the world and there’s nothing new. In the end we are talking about football – and football is the same everywhere, everytime. You just have to adapt to the team you are playing against – and adapt in the team you are playing with.
On his first year at Liverpool being disrupted…
I think it was very interrupted in this first year with Liverpool because of the COVID situation and with injury, but then I had a quick adaptation into the team and into the league. We struggled last season for many reasons. But in this [first] year, you get to know your teammates much better, the runs they make, how they prefer to receive the ball, how they defend and how they attack. I think with my performances I am open to help the team in different ways as my coach and my teammates want. For me, the most important thing is to be able to try to win as we want to win – and I am part of that.
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On his commitment to Liverpool…
As I always have been, I am a guy who plays football and I am not concerned about the rumours. I am focused on the duty I have with my team, the years I have with my contract with my team. I just want to know about this, about this new adventure I have here in the Premier League, trying to win all the trophies I can and my commitment is maximum with this team.
On the differences between the Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona teams he’s played for and their managers…
First of all, I had the luck to play with brilliant football players and brilliant teams. They played in different ways. Not just the teams, but also the years I had in each team they played differently. I remember with Pep [Guardiola] it was different than with [Carlo] Ancelotti. With Tito Vilanova it was different than with Pep as well, and Hansi Flick in the end was different. They were successful teams every year with amazing players; the difference is about how far you can go in the European [competitions] and also how your team performs in every game. We were dominant in both teams – in Bayern and in Barcelona – and it happened a little bit the same here with Liverpool. I came to a team that had already won a lot of things but they aim to win more things. It was a mix of mature things; I came into a mature team with a road they had already walked on and also they want to make a longer path with this team with the mature players they have and also bring in some youngsters. I think it is the same kind of hunger and competitive spirit as all the teams I had before.
Between these two coaches [Klopp and Guardiola] you can see now the difference between. They have the same charismatic character and also they have the group in their hands, they know what to do to make them to perform better and help them in the difficult situations. The similarities are there and the difference you can see [in] how their teams play. I cannot say much more about the football, one is more possession and the other one with more this wildness but with control at the same time and it’s great. Both are doing what they want in the greatest way football can bring.
On whether he feels he made the right choice in joining Liverpool…
One hundred per cent I made the right choice and the right move. You never know because in the end, the injuries stop your frequency to play or to know much more how the team performs on the pitch. In the end, you can watch football all the time and the theory is awesome but the practice is even better. I don’t know, I hate that not just me but also my teammates got injured and it’s a pity that football has this but it is part of the job and part of life. When we are fit, we have to be as high performing as we can.
On why he elected to join Liverpool…
Because I wanted to win and I wanted to go away from my comfort area and try new things. Try great football, different football, know the teammates I have here and try Jürgen’s football as well. It’s football, it’s about learning and with my experience, my knowledge of football, I can be better and learn new things, so why not? In the end I want to win – that’s the biggest thing I have in my mind, that I want to win and want to be dominant in a game. Why not here with Jürgen and these teammates?
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Coming up on BT Sport...
- November 24: Liverpool v Porto
- December 7: AC Milan v Liverpool
- December 16: Liverpool v Newcastle United
- December 26: Liverpool v Leeds United