Thiago Alcantara will not be in contention to make his long-awaited Anfield debut for Liverpool against West Brom on Sunday, claims journalist James Pearce.
Thiago, 29, was spotted training alongside his teammates at the club’s AXA Training Centre for the first time since October 17 on Wednesday following a knee injury sustained during the 2-2 draw with Everton.
The Spanish international has been limited to just 135 minutes of action since completing a £25 million move from Bayern Munich last summer.
A horror challenge from Richarlison has proven to be more significant than first anticipated.
However, despite Thiago’s return to first-team training, he will not be involved against Sam Allardyce’s Baggies at the weekend.
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Jürgen Klopp told his pre-match press conference: “Thiago made his first steps back towards team training. He is not involved in the full session but makes good steps and after, unfortunately, the long time he is out now, we cannot and will not rush it.
“The other guys are further, or closer. Shaq trained really good and Millie, yesterday full session, today then a little bit adapted.
“It is a new situation for us; we have still two more training days until we have to make decisions.
“It looks good, but I don’t know. Thiago will not be involved, he has to first be in full training sessions and then we start thinking about it. He is not too far away, I hope.”
With Thiago accompanied also by the returning James Milner and Xherdan Shaiqri, Klopp was handed the perfect early Christmas boost.
It immediately enhances the numbers in the Liverpool squad and makes the process of regular rotation all the easier.
Thiago’s history – even his present record with Liverpool – has him down as a player that needs to be managed carefully. He’ll need sufficient time to recover and find his feet which makes the decision to not risk him against West Brom a smart one.
While he will not be making his long-awaited home debut on Sunday, he could be set to feature under the Anfield lights for the first time against Manchester United on January 21.
It’s important for Liverpool to give him minutes when they can when necessary, ease him in, and make sure he’s 100 per cent ready before United.
That’s the game supporters will want to see Thiago above all else. With United’s current form warranting a case for a title challenge, this game is set up perfectly for the two-time Champions League winner.
Anything before is about getting him up to speed. The real return takes place January 17 and a number of supporters share that belief.
Here are a selection of responses regarding to the latest update on the condition of Thiago…
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