20:48 – A setback for Liverpool for the Champions League final. Thiago Alcantara cannot start. He has proved not fit enough where he was initially on the scorer list. He is replaced by Naby Keita.
The Spanish midfielder was eliminated in last weekend’s duel with Wolverhampton Wanderers. There were fears the Champions League final could end in a draw but Jurgen Klopp was quick to provide an update on the midfielder who is having a great season. “Tests have shown that he has almost recovered from a muscle injury. We are confident,” said the German coach before the final.
During the warm-up, the midfielder went aside for a while, but came back on the pitch a little later to train with a physiotherapist. Meanwhile, Keita joined the team warming up for the squatter. That turned out to be not just a precautionary measure, because he has to start immediately at the final whistle. This is reported by Marca and various English media.
Speaking to Algemeen Dagblad on Saturday, Virgil van Dijk was full of praise for the midfielder, who joined from Bayern Munich last season. After a difficult debut season, he has now completely settled down. “What a player! Thiago is so good in midfield and so important, the opponent sees that too and has to reckon with it.
To update: Thiago is still fit enough to perform at kick-off. He did the first warm-up alone, but in the end the physiotherapist found him fit enough to “only” start in the final of the millionaire ball.