Jordan Henderson thinks Thiago Alcantara has been a “fantastic addition” to the Liverpool squad after facing heavy criticism.
The Spaniard has only won four of his first 13 matches at Anfield since signing from Bayern Munich for £20m in the summer transfer window.
Jermaine Jenas described Thiago as the “weak component” as they lost 3-1 to Leicester City over the weekend, while Didi Hamann has claimed he “doesn’t really play the Liverpool way.”
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Ahead of the Reds’ clash with RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Henderson defended his fellow midfielder.
Henderson said: “Thiago has been brilliant since he came to the club.
“I think everybody knows how good a player he is. He’s a world-class player and he’s been great to have around.
“Even off the field, he’s a really good person, leads by example, gives everything and you can learn a lot from him. I think he’s been a fantastic addition to the squad.
“He’ll probably know Leipzig better than anyone, so I’m sure he’ll be telling us one or two things to help with that. But he’s settled in very well, like I knew he would.
“He’s a phenomenal player and hopefully he can just keep improving each time he plays for us and getting used to the way we play as a team.”
Declan Rice also had kind words for Thiago recently after West Ham lost 3-1 to Liverpool at the end of January.
“When I played against Thiago the other day for Liverpool, obviously he is a holding midfielder, it was a big lesson,” Rice told BBC Radio Five Live.
“He ran the game. The ball was like on a string. It was like he dictated the tempo of the game and he has been there and done it.”