Spain boss Luis Enrique gave Liverpool fans hope for the Champions League final by describing Thiago Alcantara’s injury as “not serious”, while it was confirmed Ansu Fait and Marco Asensio have been recalled to the national team.
Thiago was injured in the Reds’ Premier League season-finale 3-1 win over Wolves on Sunday, with Liverpool unable to pip Manchester City to the title despite taking the three points.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said Thiago was limping and it was not the “best sign” ahead of Saturday’s European showpiece against Real Madrid in Paris.
But Luis Enrique offered some encouragement to the club’s supporters, who are hoping to see their team add to the EFL Cup and FA Cup trophies they have already won this term.
“We have spoken with the player and it is not serious. He is having a great season. We are going to wait,” he told a news conference on Monday.
“If he does not reach the final he will have to join us so that our doctors can see him.”
Luis Enrique also confirmed the return of Barca star Fati to the national team, with a succession of injuries meaning the exciting forward has not represented La Roja since October 2020.
The head coach said he would not take any undue risks with Fati’s fitness in upcoming Nations League matches with Portugal, Czech Republic (twice), and Switzerland.
¡Una nueva #NationsLeague !
¡Un nuevo (e ilusionante) reto por delante!
Estos son los 25 jugadores citados por @LUISENRIQUE21 para disputar los 4 duelos del mes de junio.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) May 23, 2022
“I have a special plan, we are not going to take any risks, we are going to see him train, he is not going to play much of the minutes,” he said.
“It is more than anything a return to competition and to the parameters of the national team. It is more of a prize than wanting to charge it with minutes.”
Asensio last featured for his country back in November 2020, although he was part of Spain’s Olympics team last year, and his recall was met with some question marks given his limited game time for Madrid.
“I have seen what I have always seen. It is true that in his team he is not playing too much but what they do here with us is more important,” Luis Enrique said of the attacking midfielder’s inclusion.
“He may be the first surprised. Let’s not kid ourselves, there are casualties in his position, but that doesn’t mean he won’t come back. Opportunities are there to be seized.”
There is still no return for Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, but Luis Enrique insists he can still work his way back into the fold.
“I spoke to him at the time and from then on I don’t call them [to say] why I make my decisions. He can return to the national team,” he said.
Spain squad in full: Unai Simon, Robert Sanchez, David Raya; Inigo Martinez, Pau Torres, Dani Carvajal, Jordi Alba, Eric Garcia, Aymeric Laporte, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Alonso; Sergio Busquets, Gavi, Koke, Marcos Llorente, Rodri, Thiago Alcantara, Carlos Soler; Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Raul de Tomas, Dani Olmo, Pablo Sarabia, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres.