Jurgen Klopp says midfielder Thiago Alcantara is getting “closer and closer” to returning for Liverpool.
Thiago has missed two months of action since sustaining a knee injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton on October 17.
Having also had a spell out after testing positive for coronavirus, the 29-year-old has only played twice for Liverpool since arriving from Bayern Munich in a deal that could reach £25million.
Ahead of Saturday’s away Premier League game with Crystal Palace, Klopp was asked if Thiago, who is back in individual training, was eager to return soon.
“He is, he is,” said Klopp. “We already made jokes here; I said, ‘I think we should sign Thiago for January!’
“He gets closer and closer and he is in a good way.
“But we will not rush it, we cannot rush it and he will not [either] because he is not allowed to rush it.
“Of course, it is nice having him on the pitch, training, doing a lot of stuff, but he is not in team training yet and that’s actually the final step.
“We will see how this weekend looks with him on the pitch and then next week [see if he] can be in team training.
“I don’t know in the moment 100 per cent. There are a few tests, he has to pass a few tests on the pitch until we make that decision.
“That is not only the case for him. With Millie [James Milner] it will be similar, with Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] it will be similar – if I forgot somebody it is not because I am disrespectful, it is just a lot of players are injured in the moment.”
Working towards a return to training with his teammates
We caught up with @Thiago6 for an update…
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 18, 2020
The dramatic late win over Tottenham at Anfield on Wednesday means Liverpool are top of the Premier League table despite their injury woes.
Palace can be a tough nut to crack but Liverpool have had few issues in recent years, winning the last six league meetings between the sides, as well as their last five away top-flight matches with Roy Hodgson’s men.
The Reds have scored in 14 consecutive league matches against Palace, who are struggling defensively this season and have kept just one clean sheet in their last 21 top-flight games.
However, with four draws and one loss in their last five league away matches, champions Liverpool are looking to avoid going six road games without a win for the first time in almost a decade.
Liverpool last had such a run in January 2011.