Football

Thiago Alcantara making progress, but will not be rushed back: Klopp

Spanish midfielder making encouraging progress in training

English Premier League leaders Liverpool were handed a fitness boost with midfielder Thiago Alcantara's return to training, but manager Juergen Klopp said the Spaniard will not be available for their trip to Newcastle United tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Thiago, who joined Liverpool from Bayern Munich during the close season, has not played since October when he picked up a knock from a challenge by Everton's Richarlison during their Merseyside Derby draw.

English Premier League
NEWCASTLE LIVERPOOL

Klopp said Thiago was making encouraging progress but will not be rushed back into the team until he had completed a few more training sessions.

"On Friday, he trained the full session but it was a reduced session," Klopp said. "He has to be part of team training, it's not about training one day with the team and then you can play football in the Premier League again.

"It looks quite promising in the moment but I cannot say more about it, to be honest. I don't know."

Liverpool, three points above second-placed Leicester City, missed a chance to extend their lead on Sunday against a struggling West Bromwich Albion side that held the champions to a 1-1 draw at Anfield.

Liverpool dropped points at home for the first time this season as a result and Klopp warned his players to be cautious to avoid similar results.

"We cannot change that any more, we just can make sure that, in exactly the same situation, it doesn't happen exactly the same again," he said.

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce, who left striker Callum Wilson on the bench in their 2-0 defeat by Manchester City, hopes the 28-year-old will be raring to go against the Reds.

"He's had a knock on his ankle and I didn't want to risk him and make him worse," said Bruce.

"He's played four games in something like 12 days, so I had to protect him somehow."

Bruce will be hoping to welcome another key player back soon, with captain Jamaal Lascelles making progress in training after a bout of Covid-19.

Forward Allan Saint-Maximin, who had also caught the coronavirus, won't be back so soon, however.

"There is slightly better news on the skipper," said Bruce. "He is making inroads to join in with the team. He's done a little bit of light stuff.

"Unfortunately, we're still weeks away with Allan Saint-Maximin. They are the main two concerns.

"As I have just said, when I heard Man City had two players out, I hoped for their sake that it stays there. If it gets a hold of you, it is very worrying indeed."

Bruce was referring to the positive diagnoses of Gabriel Jesus and Kyle Walker, which was followed by more cases, prompting the postponement of the Citizens' match against Everton yesterday morning. - REUTERS