Liverpool fans slam Enrique for Thiago decision during Spain's defeat to Italy

Liverpool fans have slammed Spain boss Luis Enrique for leaving Thiago Alcantara on the bench until extra-time of Tuesday night’s semi-final against Italy.

Enrique’s side have faced criticism throughout Euro 2020 for their wastefulness in front of goal, as they started the tournament with low-scoring draws against Sweden and Poland.

They appeared to have found their groove in the Last 16, though had to recover from throwing away a two-goal lead to defeat Croatia 5-3 in extra-time.

Their inability to score despite dominating nearly came back to haunt them in the quarter-finals, with 10-man Switzerland taking them all the way to a penalty shootout.

Luis Enrique has been hesitant to use Thiago at Euro 2020
Luis Enrique has been hesitant to use Thiago at Euro 2020

That shootout win over the Swiss set up a mouth-watering semi-final against Italy, with Enrique’s side once again dominating with possession and chances.

They had 16 shots to the Azzurri’s seven and enjoyed 70 per cent of the possession in the clash at Wembley.

But for all their dominance, they could not find a way past Gianluigi Donnarumma for much of the night.

In fact, it was Italy who went in front, when Federico Chiesa scored with a delightful curled finish to cap off a quick counter on the hour mark.

Spain continued to fight for a breakthrough of their own, but it took until the final ten minutes of normal time for that to happen.

Dani Olmo played through Alvaro Morata, with the 28-year-old beating the offside trap to go one-on-one with Donnarumma and slot in at the near post.

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Morata had started the tie on the bench, before being thrown on with 28 minutes to play by Enrique as Spain desperately searched for an equaliser.

Eight minutes later, Enrique made another change, bringing on Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno for winger Mikel Oyarzabal.

Who will win Euro 2020? Comment below.

But it was the other player who entered the pitch at the same time as Moreno that led to Liverpool supporters blasting Enrique.

With the attack-minded Thiago sitting on the bench, Enrique surprisingly opted to bring on Manchester City star Rodri.

Rodri tends to play a defensive role for Pep Guardiola’s side, leaving many to question why the Spain boss had brought him on with his side a goal down.

“Rodri and not Thiago?! Method of some madness there, Luis Enrique,” one fan wrote on Twitter.

“Luis Enrique bringing on Rodri instead of Thiago when you need a goal is hilarious,” added another.

“Spain need a goal and they bring Rodri on instead of Thiago. Why does Enrique hate him so much?” a third questioned.

Thiago has struggled for game-time throughout this summer’s tournament, with the Liverpool star being limited to substitute appearances.

The 30-year-old played for just 54 minutes of Spain’s tournament, but was finally brought on for the final 14 minutes of extra-time in place of Sergio Busquets, with his side going on to lose on penalties.

Leading into the semi-final, Enrique had hailed Thiago’s talents, but gave a cryptic response when asked why he had not played more minutes.

“Thiago is a very good player. You know and everybody knows about his quality but we are a strong team and I try to give them minutes,” he said.

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“He’s helping the squad a lot because he’s an experienced player and we are very happy to have him in the squad. After that, I have to decide and my decision speaks much better than me.”


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