The 2020/21 Premier League campaign has been difficult for every team, but none have suffered as much as reigning champions, Liverpool.
Jurgen Klopp’s side had their air of invincibility taken from them almost as soon as Virgil van Dijk was injured in the Merseyside derby.
The injury situation that befell them thereafter, however, was always going to derail their title defence.
One player that was brought in to steady the ship was Thiago Alcantara, but the former Bayern Munich star hasn’t generally lived up to expectations.
Former Red, John Barnes, is sympathetic.
“I can sympathise with Thiago this season and how it has gone for him,” Barnes said to BonusCodeBets, cited by the Daily Mirror.
“Playing with no crowds can be tough for any player, especially one who has only been playing in England for less than a year.
“He’s joined a team who were playing well, compact and the best team in the Premier League.
“Then suddenly because of the injury situation, he’s now come into a team who are not playing well, as well as getting unfair criticism.
“The way that he plays with the team we currently have, things just aren’t working at Anfield and I do really feel for him as he is a top player.
“Thiago may feel that he needs the crowd for inspiration and to perform better.
“Whether it’s fair to pin much of Liverpool’s failings on Thiago is a moot point.”
He hasn’t hit the heights on a regular enough basis it’s true, however, the same could be said of most of his team-mates, particularly the more celebrated amongst them.
With only a few games left of the campaign, the Reds still have a chance to salvage something other than pride but it will need a big push from everyone.