Peter Crouch has spoken of his admiration for new Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara and says that regardless of them already knowing about him as a star for Bayern Munich, it’s clear the Reds’ squad have quickly been impressed by the playmaker in training.
The retired striker, writing in his column for the Mail, says Thiago’s debut off the bench for Liverpool and how quickly the other players were looking for him made Crouch recall when another now-Reds player, Xherdan Shaqiri, joined Stoke City and immediately looked a cut above the rest.
“There is a footballer who looks like he could play the game in his slippers,” Crouch said.
“I watched that cameo at Chelsea last week and you could tell immediately that Thiago had blown people away in his first training session, as everybody wanted to give him the ball.
“Some new signings come in and you know immediately they are a level up. I remember Xherdan Shaqiri scoring a hat-trick on his first day at Stoke, in a five-a-side match, when he completed it by lobbing Jack Butland from five yards. The lads looked at each other and said, ‘Oh my God!’”
Crouch, who played for Liverpool under Rafael Benitez, says Thiago’s manipulation of the ball reminds him of one of his old team-mates at Anfield, also noted for his passing range and technical ability.
“There were some similarities I could see in Thiago with Xabi Alonso. It was the way he gathered the ball, how crisply he passed it. Xabi was a wonderful footballer and he came to my mind when I watched Thiago at Stamford Bridge.
“I know he gave a penalty away but did you see those ‘no-look’ passes and how he was rolling the ball under his studs?
“There was so much to admire in those 45 minutes and he is going to be a big figure through the rest of the season.”
Thiago will be hoping to feature for the Reds on Monday night when they face Arsenal at Anfield, though if fitness issues prohibit him from doing so then he could face the same opponent on Thursday, in the EFL Cup.