Thiago Alcantara could spark ‘crucial’ Liverpool decision for Jordan Henderson

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Thiago Alcantara’s return to the Liverpool squad could spark a decision that would put Jordan Henderson in a “crucial” position against Manchester City, according to John Hartson.

The Reds experimented with a new centre-back pairing in the 2-1 win against West Ham, putting Nat Phillips alongside Joe Gomez.

With fixtures coming up against City and Leicester, pundits have been speculating how Jurgen Klopp will line up his defence for the big fixtures.

But the champions may also be able to include Thiago Alcantara, who has been out injured since the Merseyside derby, in the fray.

And Hartson, who spent nine seasons in the Premier League, believes it could see the Reds make a big decision on Henderson’s position in the squad.

Speaking to Stadium Astro , the former Arsenal forward said: “I’d put Henderson in the back four if Thiago can come back in.

“I wasn’t thinking of him being back – but I’d imagine he’d be pushing for a place.

“Henderson can go into the back four because he’s capable of playing there anyway.

“He can still play [Rhys] Williams, Phillips and Gomez while the game is going ahead.

“If Thiago is back fit and playing, I would play Henderson back there alongside Gomez.”

But Hartson went on to identify an alternative line-up for Klopp if the Spaniard is not available to face City.

He added: “You have Rhys Williams who played for an hour in the Champions League and looked assured.

“I think the manager knows he’s got one or two options alongside Phillips.

“When Curtis Jones was sitting in front of the defence, it took a lot of pressure off Henderson.

“Some think Henderson could go into the back four but I think he’s crucial in the middle of the park for Liverpool with [Georginio] Wijandlum or [Xherdan] Shaqiri.

“I would go with the boy [Phillips] again. I’d give him another confidence boost and say he did ever so well against West Ham.

“It’s a different scenario against a team with great centre-forwards but I would give the combination another run at it.”

Liverpool’s defensive woes have seem them get linked with a transfer in January – but Hartson said they should not “rock the boat” with a “top dollar” signing.

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