Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara is nearing a return to action though still needs to come through team training unscathed before he can be passed fit to play.
The Spaniard, a high-profile summer signing from Champions League holders Bayern Munich, has endured a difficult start to his career at Anfield, testing positive for coronavirus back in September and then picking up an injury in the Merseyside derby on his return to action.
Thiago was on the receiving end of a rash challenge from Everton’s Richarlison in the middle of October, who was shown a red card, and has not played since.
But he got Liverpool fans very excited when he was pictured on the pitches at the club’s new Kirkby training ground, having finally appeared to have overcome his knee injury.
While Klopp is encouraged by the 29-year-old’s progress, he says Thiago is yet to take part in training with the rest of the squad and is being cautious with the midfielder, with a January return most likely.
Asked if Thiago was eager to finally ignite his Liverpool career, Klopp said: ‘He is, he is. We’ve already made jokes here when we said, “I think we should sign Thiago for January”.
‘So it gets closer and closer, and it’s a good way, but we will not rush it.
‘We cannot rush it, and he will not, because he’s not allowed to rush it. But of course it’s nice.
‘But he was not in team training yet and that’s actually the final step.
‘We will see how this weekend looks with him on the [training] pitch and next week can he be in team training? I don’t know in the moment 100%.
‘He has to pass a few tests on the training pitch until we make that decision.
‘Hopefully that’s not only for him the case, but Milly [James Milner] will be similar, with Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] it will be similar.
‘Did I forget anyone? If I forgot someone it’s not because I’m disrespectful it’s just a lot of players are injured at the moment!’