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Thiago Alcantara has been told he's not the right type of player for Liverpool – but he could have been at Manchester United instead.
The midfielder had to wait until Sunday's clash with United to make his home debut for Liverpool, having recently returned from a knee injury.
After the 0-0 draw, Liverpool legend Dietmar Hamann said Thiago's style of play was too slow for the fast-paced, fluid attack favoured by Jurgen Klopp's team.
Thiago may get a chance to prove Hamann wrong when the Reds face United again on Sunday, this time at Old Trafford in the FA Cup.
But he could have been lining up for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in both clashes had David de Gea had his way.
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Thiago, 24, was heavily linked with a move to United during the summer of 2013, to become the first signing of the David Moyes era.
After Thiago scored a hat-trick in the European under-21 Championship final for Spain against Italy, United stopper De Gea wrote on Thiago's ball, 'Nos Vemos en Manchester': 'See you in Manchester'.
Eventually no move to the Premier League was forthcoming, with Thiago reuniting with his mentor Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich.
According to the man himself, while De Gea wanted him to join him in Manchester, no formal offer was made.
David de Gea wanted Thiago to join him at United
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"There was never any firm proposal," declared Thiago, speaking to the Daily Mail. "David de Gea wanted me to join. He wrote a message on my match ball after we'd beaten Italy in the final.
"But I'd have done the same with him. He is one of the greatest goalkeepers in the world. You always want to play with the best. But it was always going to be Munich."
Thiago enjoyed seven trophy-laden seasons with Bayern Munich after joining the German giants from Barcelona in 2013.
He won the Bundesliga title every season he was at the club, also winning four German cups, three supercups and the Club World Cup.
Dietmar Hamann says Thiago will change the dynamic of the team at Liverpool
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And the crowning glory of his career in Bavaria was last season's Champions League triumph, which completed a domestic and European treble.
But Hamann said Thiago was "never the first name on the team sheet" at Bayern, and has warned that he plays "a different style of football" to his new team-mates.
“He slows things down and doesn’t really play the way Liverpool play," Hamann told the Liverpool Echo.
"Liverpool in the past two years had hard-working midfielders. They were skilful, yes, but not as skilful as Thiago.
Hamann says Thiago slows down the game too much for Jurgen Klopp's side
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“They gave the ball to Salah and Mane early, and when you get the ball early to the wing and these guys can run at players, they are very hard, impossible to stop."
Thiago has made just three starts for Liverpool so far, having been hampered by a knee injury after also testing self-isolating due to coronavirus earlier in the season.
And Hamann urged caution before fans start "raving" about the midfielder.
“Everyone was raving about Thiago when he came to Liverpool but he’s hardly played. He came on against Chelsea where they had the most passes in the second half but Chelsea were down to 10 men," he said.
“Then he came on against Newcastle for the last 25 minutes and Newcastle were dead on their feet.
“I can tell you he is a good player, a skillful player, yes. But there was never a time at Munich where people said he should be the first name on the teamsheet.
“I’d be very cautious when it comes to Thiago. He plays a different style of football. He likes to be in possession.
“Liverpool were always good when they played quickly forward, and he’s not that type of player.
“It’ll be very interesting when he does play more often now, how he changes the dynamics of the team.”