Doubt cast over ‘strange’ treatment of Liverpool star as Klopp questioned

Liverpool legend John Aldridge says that it is “strange” that Takumi Minamino has not earned more game time despite the drop-off in form from the front three.

The Reds have not scored in three Premier League games, a run that has seen them slip down the table.

But while boss Jurgen Klopp insisted on Wednesday that scoring goals is a team effort, the spotlight has inevitably fallen on Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah.

The trio’s contributions have proved unmissable and crucial in recent seasons. As such, concern has become apparent due to their barren spells.

However, Klopp has more back-up options at his disposal than in previous seasons.

Diogo Jota would normally be in contention aside from injury but while January arrival Minamino is fit, the Japan international has remained on the bench in the past four matches.

Ex-striker Aldridge told the Liverpool Echo: ““I think it’s strange he hasn’t looked at Minamino with Firmino below his best.

“I thought he might have got 25 minutes at least against [Manchester] United but for some reason he’s not getting the time, I don’t know why, only Jurgen knows.”

Midfield was another area of concern for Liverpool earlier in the season, with Klopp low on numbers in his engine room.

Indeed, Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all suffered injury. However, only Keita remains sidelined, with Thiago slotting straight into the team again.

However, he came in for criticism from Dietmar Hamann. The former Liverpool midfielder claimed that the Spaniard is not the right type of player for Klopp’s team.

Aldridge sets Thiago record straight

Aldridge said of the September signing: “Thiago has come in for some recent criticism after the draw with Manchester United and I find that very harsh.

“People questioning his role in the side if he suits Liverpool’s style. He’s only played three times in the league since he’s come back and it’s at a time when the front three aren’t clicking.

“You can’t put it on Thiago, no chance. He’s such a gifted player and so lovely to watch. No, I’m not having it. Assess him at the end of the season.”

Liverpool face Burnley on Thursday, with defender Joel Matip in full training again ahead of another tough run.

Aldridge said: “I don’t know what he’ll do but he’ll mix it up a little bit. He needs to. Hopefully Matip is fit and he can release Henderson in midfield.

“He can’t release Fabinho because he’s been player of the season. He has to stay in defence until we get more people back in that position.”

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