January 21, 2021

Thiago Alcantara injury latest, Liverpool transfer plans and your questions answered – Liverpool Echo

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/liverpool-thiago-injury-transfer-news-19351776

Do you think Klopp will go with a stronger lineup against Ajax to hopefully get the job done?

ID: I think Liverpool will be stronger against Ajax because they will hopefully have a few more players available. I don’t think people should underestimate how much they are struggling with them at the moment – Henderson, Keita, Gomez, Van Dijk, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaqiri, Thiago, Alexander-Arnold were out [on Wednesday[ night and that’s a lot for a team on a major rotation right now.

Do you think Thiago and Henderson will be ready for Brighton? Or is Wolves more realistic if they’re yet to train properly?

ID: Henderson, Thiago and Ox seem the nearest to being recovered at present. But as for whether they are ready for Brighton, the reality is Klopp doesn’t even know until he is given the nod by his medical team. But they are all a lot, lot nearer to being back. It won’t be long.

Henderson wouldn’t need a week, he’s only been out a very short period. Thiago has been missing a while and would need the training time, while Ox has at least been working at Kirkby with a ball. Ox might be a bit closer than we think.

All depends on the extent of the injury, really. Plus some players lose their natural fitness quicker than others.

What is the deal with Thiago? Is his injury worse than first though? Any idea when he will be ready to play?

ID: Klopp has already said a few times that Thiago‘s injury was worse than Liverpool had initially thought. Don’t forget, he was back doing individual training not long afterwards, but then disappeared completely. There was never any chance of him appearing against Leicester or Atalanta. And when we see him back training, it’ll take a good week for him to get up to speed.

Has there been any word on the extent of the damage Thiago suffered from the challenge?

ID: Not specifically other than, as I said earlier, Klopp has hinted that it was worse than they thought after the first few days.

2,000 fans is going to be, at best, a weird experience and at worst, rubbish!! Should the club maybe look to distribute such a small number to local schools for the time-being and then look to season ticket holder ballots when the numbers are more substantial?

ID: It’s a strange one. For the fans who go, it will be a weird and possibly rubbish experience. But believe me, having been to almost all the games since lockdown, to have even just 2,000 in the ground will be extremely welcome for those of us who know what behind closed doors games can be like. And I can guarantee the players will be incredibly appreciative. It will make a positive difference.

Against Atalanta was pretty bad but what do you think is Liverpool’s worst performance under Klopp? And what’s the worst Liverpool game you’ve ever reported on?

ID: The 7-2 defeat to Villa was more comical than awful, it genuinely was hilarious by the end as it all underlined how strange football with no fans and this season had become. Interestingly, since that day there have been very few odd scorelines for any teams – it’s as though a line has been drawn. Worst performance under Klopp? Second half v Sevilla in Europa League final. Utterly hopeless.

Worst Liverpool game I’ve ever reported on is a tricky one. Losing the Champions League final in 2007 was pretty bad in the sense they should have won, then there there’s the infamous 2-0 v Chelsea in 2014. But it has to be the 6-1 loss at Stoke City in May 2015. Genuinely pathetic.

Is there any sniff of a chance that Liverpool will be looking for a new centre-back in the January? Williams, Matip and Phillips just aren’t enough for an entire season, plus forcing Fabinho out of his preferred position.

ID: Rest assured Liverpool will be looking. But don’t be surprised if Klopp maintains nothing will happen before the window opens – it does not serve the best interests of anyone to potentially undermine the likes of Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips by indicating they are probably going to be replaced in a few weeks. Klopp needs them on their game right now.

After his performance last night, what’s the latest on Origi’s future with EURO 2020 next summer?

ID: The way things are going, Origi probably needs to move in January to bolster his Euro hopes, even if it’s on loan. I have been surprised by how ineffective he has been in the Champions League this season, although he’d argue he hasn’t had enough games to get up to speed. But that’s the issue – when will he now with Jota having jumped ahead of him in the pecking order?

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Were you surprised not to see Minamino start, especially after Klopp had been praising his level in training and do you think that will be the last we see of Origi?

ID: Surprised, yes. It’s not the last we’ll see of Origi but he didn’t impress on Wednesday. Minamino is a curious one – I think Klopp perhaps thought Atalanta would be robust (they were) and Origi’s greater physical presence would help. Minamino had one poor game this season but otherwise I think he’s been decent. He deserves more minutes – and he’s going to get them given the relentless schedule.

What’s the latest on Gini Wijnaldum’s future and a possible new contract?

ID: Nothing happening there as far as we know. The reality is that, unless there’s a change of heart, it does appear certain Wijnaldum will go at the end of the season. Why would he want to leave? He’s won it all at Liverpool and fancies one more challenge before he retires. I don’t think anyone can grumble at that – and he’s been excellent this season too. No doubting his commitment.

Do you think we’ll see one of Salah, Firmino or Mane leave the club this summer?

ID: I’ve for some time been of the opinion this would be the last season Salah, Firmino and Mane start regularly together, and that was before Jota was signed. Now it appears at the very least they’ll be rotated more often. My hunch – and that is all it is, a hunch – is one of the main three could leave in the summer for very big money.

Thoughts on Neco Williams as back-up right back? By no means does anyone want to write him off but I thought Kostas Tsimikas did a great job last night whilst Neco has looked off the pace when he has come in for Trent.

ID: Neco wasn’t just replacing Trent, he was replacing Trent in a team that had no Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson, Thiago, Fabinho, Henderson and Firmino starting in a Champions League game. That’s a bit of a tough ask. He’ll be fine in the long run. I thought Tsimikas was okay considering how little he has played for Liverpool thus far. We’ll see more of him in the coming weeks.

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Any news on Naby Keita’s injury and scan?

ID: Bit quiet on that front – will know more tomorrow at the press conference at the latest.

How long is Trent Alexander-Arnold out for?

ID: Trent was about four weeks from his injury so it would be a bit of a surprise to have him back in the next week.

What do you think was Liverpool’s problem against Atalanta? Was it complacency? Did Klopp get his team selection wrong?

ID: I mentioned it in my articles – they simply ran out of players. Klopp was always going to rotate because, well, he has to long term. The fact is if Liverpool won 5-0 at home v Atalanta then lost 2-0 away, I don’t think there’d be quite the same panic. Some of the players needed minutes as they are going to be relied upon at times over the next six weeks or so.

Any news on a new contract for Fabinho?

ID: No contract news on that front at the moment. Liverpool will surely want to reward the Brazilian for his progress but it’s not their most pressing concern right this second.