Thiago doubt emerges as Liverpool squad train ahead of Benfica visit

A 26-man Liverpool squad took to the training pitches on Kirkby as they put the finishing touches on their preparations for Benfica’s visit on Wednesday.

While Jurgen Klopp said “no one injured” in his pre-match press conference earlier in the day, Thiago was a notable absentee in training.

After three successive starts, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that the Spaniard is due for extra rest or is following his own individual programme elsewhere.

Roberto Firmino came under the same bracket pre-Man City and was named on the bench, but it does suggest Thiago could be one player rotated out of the side at a time when changes can be made.

The Reds will host the Portuguese side in the second leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie, with a 3-1 advantage having seen them put one foot into the semi-finals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 12, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and SL Benfica. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

And although Klopp cannot predict exactly what Benfica will do, he knows that he would “go for it, full throttle. Put us under pressure and try to score early.”

A side with nothing to lose makes for a dangerous opponent and the manager has hinted fresh legs will go a long way in completing the job after the taxing events at the Etihad.

A 25-man senior squad once more opens the doors to plenty of possibilities for his 23-man matchday squad at Anfield, with plenty of players pushing for a place in the XI.

The likes of Luis Diaz and Firmino are those at the front of the line after coming off the bench at the Etihad, while Ibrahima Konate will look to come back in after starting at Benfica.

The likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Fabinho and Andy Robertson could also be considered as potential players to rotate out and offer an option from the extended bench.

Young goalkeeper Harvey Davies and Rhys Williams were both involved in Tuesday’s session, although will not be considered for the final squad.

With a two-goal advantage, Liverpool can make changes and still very much be aware of the risk Benfica can pose – but their depth significantly reduces any risk that rotation may pose.

Liverpool squad in training on Tuesday

Goalkeepers: Alisson, Kelleher, Adrian, Davies

Defenders: Van Dijk, Matip, Konate, Gomez, R. Williams, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, Tsimikas

Midfielders: Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Keita, Jones, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Elliott

Forwards: Salah, Diaz, Firmino, Mane, Jota, Minamino, Origi