Thiago Alcantara was perceived as something of a luxury signing for a Liverpool squad already blessed with world class talent, though his impact at the club has been questioned since making a return from injury.
Jose Enrique has raised a serious concern for Jurgen Klopp following the Reds’ Champions League exit, courtesy of a highly frustrating 0-0 draw with Real Madrid, with the No.6’s substitution for James Milner appearing to subtract intensity from the side.
“In games like last night, it’s no surprise to see Thiago on the bench,” the former Liverpool defender told EOTK yesterday.
“The players who can give Liverpool the intensity they need in midfield are James Milner, Hendo and Curtis Jones. So with two of those injured, we needed Milly.
“Thiago is world-class, but he’s a no.6, and Liverpool already have the best no.6 in the country in Fabinho. So he has a problem.
“The best option for Thiago going forward is if Liverpool play with two holding midfielders – a double pivot – next to Fabinho. But I’m not sure that is the best for the team, as 4-3-3 is Klopp’s favourite shape and how we usually play.
“We’ll see what Klopp does – I can’t teach him anything – but in the second-half yesterday, when Thiago came on, we lost some intensity.”
The idea that we may struggle to find a place for a player of the calibre of the former Bayern Munich star is a difficult concept to wrap our heads around.
Given how exciting Liverpool looked at full-strength with the midfielder in the first-XI at the start of the season, it’s possible that we may need to wait for the return of the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson in order to determine what to do with Thiago.
Ultimately, the Spain international was brought in to help us break down stubborn low-blocks – an opposition tactic that has proved to be our kryptonite since the reign of Brendan Rodgers.
In an injury-hit season, it’s far too early to suggest that the Champions League-winner’s switch to Anfield was ill-advised, though Klopp will undoubtedly have some thinking to do over this latest conundrum.