Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that the half-time substitution that brought on Thiago Alcântara for Jordan Henderson was not due to an injury or poor performance from the captain. The switch was part of Klopp’s gameplan in Liverpool’s 4-1 FA Cup win over Aston Villa.
“Hendo and Thiago was clear before the game that we do it like this: 45, 45,” said Klopp. “Absolutely no problem. And no, no reservations.”
While there wasn’t necessarily any real worry that Henderson was taken off due to an injury, it’s still nice to have confirmation from Klopp anyway in a season where Liverpool have been plagued by injuries.
Though Henderson wasn’t pulled off because of his performance, the swap ended up being a positive for the Reds. Thiago’s introduction added the creative spark that was missing in the first half, and he was instrumental in Liverpool taking control and putting the match to bed in the second half.
It was encouraging to see the Spaniard have such an impact, even if it was against a team of youngsters. It was just his third match back after a long injury layoff, and his creativity and passing range are desperately needed as Liverpool have found goals hard to come by of late. Thiago rounding into form could provide the spark needed to get things back on track.