Last week, Liverpool fans were treated to something they had been waiting for since October 17 - a glimpse of Thiago Alcantara in the match day squad. The Spanish midfielder had been out of commission since that fateful game against Everton.
In the 73rd minute, Thiago was introduced against Newcastle, and changed the complexion of the game. His vertical passing provided a much needed spark to the attack.
Thiago’s few stints between covid and injury have Liverpool fans salivating for more. After finally being fit enough to come off the bench, the big question is whether or not he will have enough match fitness to start against Southampton.
For his part, Liverpool’s gregarious manager, Jurgen Klopp, is playing it coy ahead of the match.
“There’s a chance,” Klopp said of Thiago featuring against Southampton. “He played 20 [against Newcastle] so there’s a chance.”
Southampton features an impressive counterpress, so Thiago’s calm ability to ride the press and deliver a killer ball would be a welcome addition. With a long layoff between this game and the next league game against Manchester United (we’re not counting the League Cup game against Aston Villa), there would be plenty time for recovery. Still, Liverpool’s medical staff will be sure to have a plan to ensure the long term fitness of the player.
“It’s not that we could not survive if he cannot start the next game,” said Klopp. “But it’s very good that he is now fit and is obviously in contention. I like that a lot.”