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    Thursday, 14 January 2021

    Liverpool v Manchester United: Paul Merson prompts fear about 'Liverpool shaky midfield' as star man misses training

    Paul Merson has pinpointed Jordan Henderson and Fabinho's midfield importance and urged Jurgen Klopp to make Thiago decision as star man misses training ahead of crucial Anfield clash


    Paul Merson has told Jurgen Klopp that midfielder Thiago Alcantara must start every single week for Liverpool, with the champions looking to rediscover their title charge.

    The Reds host new Premier League leaders and bitter rivals Manchester United on Sunday, looking to reclaim their no.1 spot at the Premier League table.

    Merson believes that Liverpool need the quality of Thiago in midfield in order to get their front trio back scoring.

    The former Arsenal player told Sky Sports: "Liverpool are struggling without that guile in midfield. They'll need Thiago to play every week. He's the one who sees that pass.

    "I think Jurgen Klopp knows this now, because he's even bringing Xherdan Shaqiri in, someone who you'd have previously thought might not play another minute for Liverpool. But he can put the ball through the eye of a needle.

    "Without that, it takes the Sadio Mane, Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino X-factor out of the game. Liverpool are still the best in the world without the ball, but when there's no space there, it gets taken away.


    "Thiago must play every week. He can see that pass, and we've seen evidence of that in a couple of games. It might not always come off, but he sees it."

    Liverpool's midfield has been seriously bothered this season, with Klopp forced to use Fabinho as an emergency centre-back amidst their defensive injury crisis.

    Joel Matip has become a major doubt for the Sunday showdown as he continue to recover from an abductor injury he suffered last month.

    The defender was absent in the Reds training session on Wednesday and that possibly could see midfielder Jordan Henderson coming in once again as a makeshift centre-back.

    Merson believe 'unsung heroes' Henderson and Fabinho taken out of the midfield has proven their impact in that position recently.

    "What team in the world aren't going to miss Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in midfield," Merson added.

    "It's hard when you're taking those players out of the midfield.

    "Liverpool's midfield have always made everything happen - they are the unsung heroes. Without them, I don't think anything happens at Liverpool.

    "They protect the back four, they let the full-backs bomb on, and they let the front three do what they want."

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