Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Thiago is not automatically one of the first names on the Reds’ team-sheet as soon as he comes back from injury.
The former England international has suggested the Spaniard will have to earn his place in the starting eleven, with Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum presumably the preferred trio in midfield.
“When you are playing regularly that is when you can cement your position within the team, but, due to injuries, Thiago hasn’t been able to do that and played only a handful of games,” Barnes told Bonus Code Bets.
“He will be in contention to play, depending on the game. If Liverpool are facing opposition who defend in numbers and defend deep, then Thiago is the man who can create something from nothing.
“He is not necessarily one of the first names in the midfield three even before he was injured.
“It is the same with Diogo Jota, both players are giving Liverpool options and have the same quality as the other players but are not certainties to start each week.
“Jota has scored so many goals since he joined, and he doesn’t start all the time. It is not a question of playing well it is all about the balance of the team, who compliments who.”
While Barnes is right to suggest that our long-term players aren’t simply going to be disregarded, it seems a little disrespectful to hint that Thiago needs to prove himself.
The Spaniard is one of the most accomplished midfielders in the world and is currently the most decorated players at Liverpool, ahead of Xherdan Shaqiri.
As is the case with Jurgen Klopp, his team isn’t 11 first-team players and a few back-up options, the German has assembled a squad for the Reds.
Barnes does touch upon this when he mentions selections will be made depending on the opposition, which is likely going to be the case for Diogo Jota this season too.