Thiago Alcantara is getting closer to a return to first-team action for Liverpool but Jurgen Klopp says he is unlikely to feature in Wednesday’s Premier League clash with Newcastle.
The Spain midfielder hasn’t played since picking up a knee injury in the Merseyside derby draw with Everton in mid-October but was set to return to full team training on Monday.
Thiago has only played twice since his £20 million ($26m) move from Bayern Munich over the summer, but he set a Premier League passing record on his debut in September and there is plenty of excitement at Anfield around what he can bring to Klopp’s side.
“I like watching all my boys playing and with Thiago, of course he had a few minutes, I would say, until he got injured,” Klopp said.
“So of course, we are looking forward to that, but I don’t know. It’s not really likely that he will travel [to Newcastle], let me say it like this.
“He needs a few sessions. He was really out for a long time after a really harsh challenge – that was a proper impact. Nothing ruptured, nothing broken, but that still took time obviously and it still takes time. We cannot rush that; we will not do. So, I don’t know.”
Klopp’s earlier comments suggested Thiago’s return could still be a little way off, as he is keen to make sure he is fully fit and up to speed before throwing him back into action.
"Thiago has trained in part with the team so far, but on Friday, he trained the full session," he told reporters. "But it was a reduced session so we couldn't do that [full session].
"He just has to be part of team training [regularly]. It's not about being part of team training one day and then you can play football in the Premier League.
"So, it looks quite promising at the moment but I cannot say more about it, to be honest. I don't know. I think the plan was that if he trains [on Monday] completely normally then we will see.”
After the trip to Newcastle, Liverpool start 2021 with a trip to Southampton and an FA Cup clash with Aston Villa, before a home fixture against in-form Manchester United on January 17.