Paul Merson has admitted he was “shocked” after seeing Thiago Alcantara relegated to the bench for Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid last week, as reported by the Metro.
With Jurgen Klopp’s decision to start Naby Keita in the Spain international’s stead not paying off, the No.6 is expected to start for the German tonight.
“I was shocked last week that Thiago Alcantara did not play, I thought that was what he was brought in for,” the former Arsenal star said.
“They won the league without him, so what was the point of bringing him in?
“That is his game, it is open and everybody gets on the ball and passes it – and he keeps the ball and is very composed on it. I literally thought he [Klopp] had brought him in for those occasions, they have not brought him in to win the league.”
There was logic behind the decision to opt for our No.8’s pressing ability over the creative brilliance of the 30-year-old, though there can be no question that he has to start this time against Zinedine Zidane’s side.
With the front three lacking supply last time around, we need Thiago back in midfield alongside Fabinho to help create chances and make up for the deficit achieved in the Spanish capital.
As Merson pointed out, we bought the former Bayern star to add to our already considerable quality in the first-XI; Champions League nights, like our impending clash with the La Liga giants, are tailor-made for the midfielder.