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Klopp’s Thiago plan amid Champions League display and selection conundrums

Thiago played a starring role for Liverpool in their recent win over Porto and showed why so much was expected of him but Jurgen Klopp is still keen to manage his midfielder’s workload

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Thiago stole the show with his performance and strike in Liverpool’s win over Porto on Wednesday night.

The Anfield crowd have waited to see the best of the midfielder, who was signed from Bayern Munich last summer.

Injuries have hampered him and that lack of game time has meant the Spaniard has struggled to find any rhythm or adapt to the demands of English football.

There were signs this week though that Thiago can become the conductor many thought he would be.

That said, Klopp is keen to keep a lid on expectations and is by no means going to pin all his hopes on the Spaniard.

In Thiago’s absence last term the Reds continued to churn out impressive performances, with some even suggesting they were better off without him due to the way he slowed the game down.

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Thiago played a starring role in midweek
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Image:

REUTERS)

Midfield is the most competitive area in the Liverpool squad and Klopp is still blessed with options even without the former Barcelona star.

Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita, Fabinho, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are among those seeking minutes.

It has meant constant rotation in the middle of the park and, even after Thiago’s virtuoso display in the Champions League, he is likely to be used in the same way as his teammates with Klopp shuffling the pack.

“Thiago is an incredible player for us, of course, but we found solutions when he was not available and we have to find solutions,” said the Reds boss.

“It’s not about one player out or in. The quality of our team when our midfielders are fit – just to talk about our midfielders – we have an incredible choice, to be honest, of players there.

“Thiago has a very specific skillset, absolutely, and is very helpful when he is on the pitch when he has rhythm and all that stuff, so that’s the challenge we face: make sure he can gain rhythm but not overdo it.

“But we have that with all the players pretty much, that’s the challenge we face all the time, especially with the amount of games coming up.”

Jurgen Klopp will be keeping a keen eye on his midfielder’s minutes
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Image:

Pool via REUTERS)

The hectic fixtures schedule is always a challenge for managers – and Klopp has been particularly outspoken about it since he arrived back in 2015.

Liverpool also have the added inconvenience of losing several players to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Mo Salah and Sadio Mane are among them which may mean Thiago stepping up – be that by scoring or creating.

Of the midfielders still in their squad Fabinho was handed the most starts last term in the league with 28.

Klopp is not a man to over use or over work a man in the middle of the park, so Thiago’s minutes will certainly be measured.

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