MADRID, SPAIN - Tuesday, April 6, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara appeals to the referee during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg game between Real Madird CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool fans left confused by Thiago’s absence vs. Real Madrid

Jurgen Klopp has made a big call in leaving Thiago out and starting James Milner in Liverpool’s crucial Champions League clash with Real Madrid, confusing supporters.

The Reds are up against the odds tonight as they take on Real at Anfield, looking to overturn a 3-1 loss in the first leg of their quarter-final, clinging to Mohamed Salah‘s away goal.

An abject performance in Madrid saw a failure to apply pressure on Toni Kroos in particular leading to Liverpool’s defence being exposed, with the decision to start Naby Keita over Thiago roundly questioned.

Klopp replaced Keita with Thiago after 43 minutes that night, but after having also started the weekend’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa on the bench, the Spaniard has been overlooked again.

Instead, Milner makes his second consecutive start alongside Fabinho and Gini Wijnaldum, which has been criticised by many supporters on social media:

There is a clear line of thinking in starting Milner, of course, as despite his age at 35 he is one of the most energetic midfielders at Klopp’s disposal.

He is also an experienced, big-game player, and will wear the captain’s armband as a genuine leader within the squad, with Wijnaldum lacking vocally in the first leg.

But Thiago is similarly attuned to contests such as this, and it can certainly be argued that his talents will be required against Real.

Though the decision was largely criticised, some supporters looked to make sense of it, with the option of Thiago from the bench a useful one for Klopp:

At this point, Klopp seems unable to please every supporter when he names his starting lineup, but it is hard to argue that some of the manager’s selections have been confusing this season.

Hopefully, the trio of Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Milner pays off, as Liverpool look to take the fight to Real and produce another famous comeback.