New Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara has spoken about how former Reds Philippe Coutinho and Xabi Alonso helped to convince him to join the Premier League champions this summer.
Thiago’s arrival at Anfield from Bayern Munich was announced on Friday, and the midfielder revealed he had talked to former Bayern team-mates Coutinho and Alonso – both of whom previously played for Liverpool – about whether the Premier League club was the right destination for him.
“More than the football aspect – because in the end, Liverpool is what it is for the last years, the last decades – it is the family aspect, the life aspect,” the 29-year-old told the club’s official website. “How is the city? Where to go. How was the life [here]? People like Philippe Coutinho and Xabi Alonso helped me a lot to take this last step. It’s really good.”
The Spain international also spoke about his experiences playing against Liverpool in a Bayern shirt, including a Champions League draw against the Reds at Anfield in 2019 before the German side were eliminated when they lost at the Allianz Arena in the return leg.
“Well, it was my second time here,” Thiago said. "The first time I was here when I was five or six years old, I think. My dad played against Liverpool with Celta Vigo. I think it was, at that time, the Uefa Cup.
“My second time was a draw here; we didn’t plan to defend as much as we defended, because we hated just to defend a whole game, but they were stronger than us and we had to adapt. I was surprised with the people here, how they live football and it was really a shock for me. The second game was amazing [to play here].
“I just prepared for the game as I prepared for all the games I play. I watched two or three games of [Liverpool’s], analysing them – how they attack, how they defend, where the weak points of them [were]. We always try to find them – and also the strong ones. At that time, I didn’t think much about: ‘Wow I am going to be there… I want to be there.’ I just faced it like another important game. It was good. In that time, we were not in our best condition and it was a hard defeat for us.”
Thiago, who said Liverpool deserved to win the Premier League “years ago", added that he would have to earn a starting spot, with the likes of captain Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Naby Keita also vying for places in Jurgen Klopp’s midfield.
The Spaniard also said he was glad to be playing for the German coach, rather than against him.
“I am glad to have him as a coach to try to reach my football, to try to learn as much as I can with the team,” Thiago said. “Yeah, he suffered a little bit with me there in the Bundesliga when he was at [Borussia] Dortmund!
“But in football, you have these moments of joy and also you have not-so-good moments. We suffered that with elimination last year against Liverpool.”