Liverpool are back in Premier League action this weekend following a chastening 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League in midweek.
The Reds’ downfall in Spain was their midfield, with Naby Keita particularly struggling against Los Blancos and being substituted after just 42 minutes. Jurgen Klopp should revert back to his regular selection against Aston Villa at Anfield and reintroduce September signing Thiago Alcantara.
Whilst the Spaniard has certainly not hit the heights expected of him yet following his move from Bayern Munich, having not chalked up a goal or an assist in 21 appearances for Liverpool, he is certainly capable.
According to WhoScored, the 29-year-old is averaging far more key passes (1.1 to 0.6) more dribbles (1.3 to 0.8) and more passes (72.6 to 35.6) per game in the Premier League than Keita than season.
As a matter of fact, the Guinean only comes out on top in shots per game, but considering neither of the two midfielders have scored this term, it sees that particular number fade into irrelevance.
Thiago is also far more of an influence defensively too, racking up considerably more tackles and interceptions per game.
That tenacity and work rate is something which should come in useful against an Aston Villa midfield of John McGinn, Morgan Sanson and also Douglas Luiz – an aspect which could be crucial in the Reds’ hopes of claiming three points.
It certainly seems unfathomable for Klopp to omit the £31.5m-rated Thiago in place of Keita for a game which looks key to the Reds’ top four hopes.
After all, the Spaniard’s teammates are well aware of his talents. Sadio Mane has labelled him as “magic” despite his indifferent form since arriving on Merseyside.
Fresh off of the back of a chastening Champions League defeat, Klopp must include Thiago from the start today if Liverpool are to avoid another damaging Anfield loss in the Premier League.
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