Former Liverpool star Jose Enrique has backed Jurgen Klopp to start both Xherdan Shaqiri and Thiago Alcantara against Manchester United on Sunday.
Thiago, 29, is braced for his long-awaited Anfield debut having featured in all three of Liverpool’s previous matches. The Spaniard recently recovered from a long-term knee injury.
Meanwhile, Shaqiri, 29, has been tipped for his first Premier League start of the season following an impressive cameo off the bench against Aston Villa last Friday.
Shaqiri has been limited to just 84 minutes of league action this term, but Enrique believes Shaqiri is deserving of his chance. He claimed as such on Instagram.
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Whether or not Klopp chooses to pair both Thiago and Shaqiri remains to be seen.
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The Liverpool boss, then, has a number of midfield options available to him ahead of the north-west derby.
Club-captain Jordan Henderson picks himself as does Thiago, effectively freeing just one more position in Liverpool’s midfield triumvirate.
Georginio Wijnaldum would consider himself unfortunate were he not to start at the weekend. The Dutchman has started all but one of Liverpool’s 17 Premier League matches in 2020/21, after all.
Klopp also has the claims of Curtis Jones to consider, and, to a lesser extent, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Naby Keita may also be back in training by then. It would, however, be a huge call for Klopp to start him ahead of so many other fully-fit options.
Shaqiri, who scored twice against United in December 2018, has certainly strengthened his case following recent events, at least.
The former Bayern Munich maestro has been plagued by injuries once again this term. However, in the performances he has featured, Shaqiri – who earns £80,000-a-week according to Spotrac – has largely impressed.
Klopp will have a difficult task getting together what is considered Liverpool’s strongest XI before the end of the season.
With that said, if Joel Matip is available to start, the manager will certainly fancy his chances. The Cameroonian’s involvement would complete a team as powerful as can be when United march into Anfield on Sunday.