Jurgen Klopp issued a fitness update on club-captain Jordan Henderson in the aftermath of Liverpool’s 4-1 victory at Aston Villa on Friday night. The Liverpool boss revealed the skipper did not sustain an injury during the win.
The English champions are safely through to the fourth round of the FA Cup, then. Albeit, it did come at the expense of a vastly inexperienced Villa side.
Henderson, 30, started the match, but was replaced at half-time for Thiago Alcantara.
Klopp said that his selection decision was planned and his motivation behind the change was not the result of injury.
Speaking with the club’s official website, Klopp said: “No, no, Hendo and Thiago was clear before the game that we do it like this: 45, 45. Absolutely no problem.”
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For an hour, it was clear for all to see the underlying issues that are hindering Liverpool at this present time.
It took just over 60 minutes to break down a hastily-thrown together group of teenagers, after all. Pegged back on level terms by former Barcelona starlet Louie Barry, it was another former Camp Nou player to inject some much-needed quality into Liverpool’s performance.
Thiago came on in the second half, and in a nutshell, totally changed the complexion on the match. Within minutes, the Spaniard had the tempo of the game bent to his will.
His expansive array of passes were able to unlock a Villa back-line that had remained fairly resolute for 60 minutes.
So, it would seem, as unspectacular as it was, Liverpool’s second half performance was a step in the right direction.
However, Liverpool will have to improve significantly too, especially with Manchester United in town next weekend.
The Reds could be trailing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team in the league standings by the time they arrive at Anfield, after all.
Thiago, it would seem, is the best way to conjure up a performance, then. On the evidence of his latest performance, the former Bayern Munich maestro is exactly what Liverpool need.
With a long-awaited Anfield debut on the cards, also, it seems Thiago’s injection of quality could not have come at a better time for Liverpool.