UCL: ‘He’s intelligent, dictating the play’ – Owen, Ferdinand hail Liverpool star after win over Villarreal


Former Manchester United stars, Michael Owen and Rio Ferdinand have singled out Thiago Alcantara for praise following Liverpool’s Champions League first-leg 2-0 win over Villarreal on Wednesday night.

Owen and Ferdinand said Thiago is an intelligent player who dictated the pace of the game against Villarreal.

Recall that Thiago initially struggled following his move to Liverpool 18 months ago as he failed to get to grips with the rigours of English football, but Jurgen Klopp’s patience has paid off to the extent whereby the midfielder is among the first names on his starting XI.

“There were lots of questions, lots of people who thought he was a great player,” Owen told BT Sport.

“I don’t think there was anyone who ever doubted his quality. They did doubt if they could fit into this team. I think naturally he’s a No.6 but a No.6 who is a playmaker, almost like a quarterback.

“But Liverpool don’t really play like that. They like a more defensive player in there like Fabinho, but this guy, especially in the last month, has just come into his own; he is literally dictating the play.

“His passing accuracy is staggering; it was 96%, I’m told and things like this he’s been adding to his game in recent weeks.”

On his part, Ferdinand added: “He’s an intelligent guy. I’m fortunate enough to have spent time with him here and there.

“Intelligence is the thing that strikes you straight off the pitch, but on the pitch, it is there for everyone to see. It’s almost like he’s practicing and testing things out on this stage and it almost always comes off.”

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