Danny Murphy leaps to defence of ‘superb’ Thiago Alcantara as he blasts ‘narrative’ about midfielder, but admits Liverpool’s title bid is ‘over’

The Premier League title race is over this season following Manchester City’s stunning thrashing of Liverpool, believes Danny Murphy.
City claimed their first win at Anfield since 2003 as they ran riot against the reigning champions with an excellent 4-1 win.
Phil Foden was among the goals as City blitzed Liverpool on their home patchGetty Images – Getty
But more importantly it gives Pep Guardiola’s side breathing space at the top of the table; they’re ten points clear of Liverpool and five points ahead of second-place Manchester United, and have played a match less than both sides.
The consensus is that Liverpool cannot retain their title, with Red Devils legend Roy Keane labelling Jurgen Klopp’s side ‘bad champions’.
And Murphy thinks no differently as he called on Liverpool to bounce back quickly with a Champions League first leg against RB Leipzig coming days after their Premier League clash at Leicester next weekend.
But the former Reds midfielder also believes Liverpool’s loss to City wasn’t as bad as the scoreline would suggest.
Dropped points against the likes of Brighton, Burnley, Newcastle and West Brom should be more of a concern for Liverpool than losing 4-1 to City, says MurphyAFP
He told talkSPORT: “Yeah, the title’s over I think. Liverpool just need to concentrate on bouncing back, showing some resilience and getting into the top four.
“I don’t think the performance as a one-off in isolation was a worry or a concern, they were well in the game at 1-1 until Alisson had his mad moments.
“The problem has been [dropped points against] Brighton, Burnley, West Brom, Newcastle – those performances where there was a lethargy about them, they were flat in recent weeks. Probably a bad four, five, six weeks for lots of reasons.
“But that performance wasn’t a 4-1 game. I wouldn’t be concerned about that performance in isolation, it’s about what’s gone on in the weeks before. They did show some fight against Man City. They were better, it was a good and even game for 60-70 minutes.
Mohamed Salah’s penalty made it 1-1 in the 63rd minute but Liverpool totally lost their way after Ilkay Gundogan made it 2-1 ten minutes laterGetty
“They’ve got to bounce back and quick because they’ve got some big games coming up.”
Liverpool have numerous problems on their hands but there are growing concerns about Thiago Alcantara’s ability to settle at the club.
The 29-year-old joined the Reds from Bayern Munich last summer but has yet to truly make his mark at Anfield with suggestions he doesn’t fit into Klopp’s style of play and that he slows their attacks down becoming more popular.
However, Murphy has rubbished these suggestions about the midfielder, insisting Liverpool have a ‘superb’ player in their side.
Thiago joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich for £25millionAFP
Murphy is still backing Thiago to be a success, saying he offers things Liverpool’s midfield previously lackedGetty Images – Getty
“I’m struggling to find the argument that Thiago slowing the play down,” added Murphy. “It’s a narrative that people have jumped on because one or two people mentioned it.
“He passes the ball more forward and more progressively through the lines than any other Liverpool midfielder. He’s got the capability of opening up defences more than any other Liverpool midfielder.
“If Thiago walked into that Liverpool team that was playing well, winning everything and alongside Jordan Henderson and Fabinho, two of the normal three, you wouldn’t have this narrative going.
“He’s a superb footballer. The opinion of him slowing it down because he has this wonderful ability at times to be calm and slow the game down which is actually a gift, it’s not a negative thing.”

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