Klopp backs 'new signing' Thiago for big Liverpool role

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Jurgen Klopp has likened Thiago Alcantara to a new signing for Liverpool and suggested he could have a big role to play against Manchester United.

Thiago arrived at Anfield last year from Bayern Munich, but his start to life on Merseyside has been hampered by an injury picked up against Everton in October.

The Spanish midfielder took some time to work back to fitness but has made three appearances in the last couple of weeks and is making solid progress.

The Reds face Manchester United in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday, and Klopp talked up the quality of his creative midfield force.

“To put the pressure a little bit off the situation I said we should sign Thiago in the window [as a joke]. Now he is here, let’s hope he stays like this for a long, long, long, long time,” Klopp said.

“The most important thing is he is fit and he trained. He had 90 and 45 minutes in the last two games.

“We will see if he can play and which position he can play because there are different options.

“But it is really good to have him around now. He is a really good guy and an exceptional football player. It is like a new signing.”

The pressure has been ramped up ahead of the game, with Klopp becoming embroiled in a spat with former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg - who has accused the German of mind games.

Liverpool head into the game with United on a run of two losses and a defeat from their past three Premier League games, and Klopp says there were clear-the-air talks amongst the squad following the loss to Southampton.

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“We lost against Southampton a week or so ago, which was absolutely not what we wanted, but the next day we spoke and the boys had their say as well, all that kind of stuff,” Klopp said.

“We are now in a place where we want to be. We know what we have to do. We know what went wrong. We want to change.

“Now, we have to put in place on the pitch. That is the situation. I’m really looking forward to this game, to be honest.”