Thiago Alcantara is nearing his long-awaited return for Liverpool, but it will not take place against West Brom on Sunday, according to Jurgen Klopp.
We’ve been waiting for the all-clear for Thiago to return for the English champions. Ever since the Merseyside derby on October 17, in-fact.
135 minutes of action is all Liverpool fans have been treated to since the Reds unveiled arguably the biggest signing of the modern era back in September.
Considering he has made just one start since the Champions League final in August, Liverpool have been made to wait before his £20 million [BBC] fee can be justified as a financial masterstroke.
However, his return is imminent. Thiago was back amongst the first-team at Liverpool’s AXA Training Centre as of Wednesday, so hopefully, it is a huge step towards his return to the pitch.
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Having been ruled out against West Brom, the following clash against Newcastle feels like an appropriate time for a potential cameo off the bench.
Thiago’s recent injury record – even the one with Liverpool – suggests it could be risky to throw him in at the deep end with a starting berth.
He’ll need time to recover before he can be entrusted to feature in Klopp’s starting XI.
With that said, it makes sense for the manager to prep Thiago for a potential dream Anfield debut.
A home debut like no other
His absence against West Brom means his next opportunity to feature amongst the home fans for the first time could be against Manchester United on January 17.
Before then, away visits to the likes of Newcastle and Southampton lie in wake for Liverpool – this is the perfect bedding-in process to get Thiago back up to speed.
These should be used to get Thiago ready – nothing more. By all means give him minutes when we can, but protecting him for United should be the priority.
That’s the real return here. It would represent Thiago’s biggest clash since he lined up against Paris Saint Germain in the Champion League final last summer.
It is set up to be the ultimate Anfield debut – and hopefully, the first opportunity for fans to observe the Spaniard’s mesemerising talents in the flesh.
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