Thiago Alcantara was not “one of the first names in the midfield three even before he was injured”, says John Barnes, with the Spanish playmaker told he is going to have to earn a regular role at Liverpool.
The arrival of a classy midfielder at Anfield over the summer generated much fanfare.
Former Barcelona star Thiago made his way to England shortly after helping Bayern Munich to Champions League glory and a treble-winning triumph in 2019-20.
He impressed through his early outings for the Reds, but has endured a frustrating time since then.
The 29-year-old is among those to have contracted Covid-19, while an untimely injury picked up in an eventful Merseyside derby date with Everton in October has kept him sidelined for over a month.
Jurgen Klopp is looking forward to welcoming another proven performer back into his plans, but Barnes says there is no guarantee that Thiago will walk into Liverpool’s starting XI.
The Reds legend 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.”
Liverpool, who have a number of injury concerns to contend with at present, will return to Premier League action on Sunday when playing host to table-topping Leicester.
Thiago is not expected to figure against the Foxes, but he is edging his way back to full fitness.