Thiago Alcantara warned about Liverpool starting XI spot ahead of injury return

Thiago Alcantara is not a guaranteed starter for Liverpool even when fit and firing, according to club legend John Barnes.

The Spain midfielder has endured a frustrating start to his Reds career, first testing positive for Covid-19 following an impressive debut performance away at Chelsea in September.

But after undergoing a self-isolation period, he returned to the side in last month’s 2-2 draw away at Everton and sustained a knee injury, which has kept him out of action for the last five weeks.

It remains to be seen when Thiago recovers fully from his latest problem, although he was spotted training alone prior to the international break.

Nevertheless, Barnes has warned the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich man that he faces a battle to make it into Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up even when he is injury free.

The Liverpool great told BonusCodeBets: “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.

“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.”

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Klopp has a number of injury problems on his hands ahead of this Sunday’s showdown with Leicester at Anfield.

As well as long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, he is expected to be without Mohamed Salah (coronavirus), Fabinho (hamstring), Trent Alexander-Arnold (calf), Andrew Robertson (thigh) and Jordan Henderson (leg) along with Thiago.

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