Thiago Alcantara ruled out of Newcastle game with Jurgen Klopp willing to wait for midfielder’s recovery

German midfielder has only made two appearances since joining the club in September and has not recovered sufficiently as Liverpool look to get back to winning ways

Carl Markham
Wednesday 30 December 2020 15:34 GMT
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Thiago Alcantara will not be risked for Liverpool’s trip to Newcastle
Thiago Alcantara will not be risked for Liverpool’s trip to Newcastle (Getty)

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara will not be risked against Newcastle United on Wednesday after Jurgen Klopp admitted he is not yet ready to return from two months out of action.

The Premier League leaders will look to get back to winning ways with the trip to St James’ Park after being held to a 1-1 draw by West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, which resulted in Klopp blaming his own side for not capitalising on their dominance to allow Sam Allardyce’s team off the hook.

The player Klopp could have really done with against West Brom was Thiago, the world-class creative midfielder signed from Bayern Munich in September who managed just one-and-a-half matches before being sidelined by a knee injury in October.

Thiago has returned to team training but has not completed enough sessions to satisfy Klopp so will not be pushed into action at Newcastle, but instead be given extra time to prove his readiness.

"He has done parts of training so far. On Friday he trained a full session, but the session was a reduced session," Klopp said.

"It is not about training one day with the team and then you can play in the Premier League again.

"It looks quite promising at the moment, but I cannot say more about it, I don't know. We will see."

While Thiago is edging closer to a comeback, Klopp has lost another two players to injury, with centre-back Joel Matip sustaining a groin injury against West Brom and midfielder Naby Keita missing that game with another muscle problem.

Klopp insists he was not angry with his players for their failure to beat the Baggies though as he has a greater perspective on their collective achievements.

It was only the second time in 2020 they had not won a home league match, but on the flip side it extended their unbeaten Premier League run at Anfield to 67 matches.

Klopp expects a response from his Liverpool side at Newcastle
Klopp expects a response from his Liverpool side at Newcastle (AFP via Getty)

Amid all the noise about their lack of cutting edge against West Brom, the defending champions will still head to Newcastle on Wednesday top of the Premier League by at least two points.

"I want to win more than anything else, but I had a lot to learn already in my life and it doesn't happen all the time. This is completely fine," said Klopp.

"I like winning football games, especially when you deserve to win. To deserve to win (against West Brom) I think we should have done more.

"I'm not angry with them, that just can happen. A defeat is a defeat if you don't learn off it and we will learn off it and play football again.

"I'm not sure if it has something to do with confidence, it's about experience and so far we did it. The boys are a top group.

"They were a top group after winning 7-0 (at Crystal Palace) and they are a top group after drawing against West Brom. That's how it is and that doesn't change.

"If the perspective from outside changes, I can imagine that after this, but I'm not a young manager any more and I can judge these things the right way.

"We are not happy about it, we are the opposite. But it is over, we cannot change that any more, we can just make sure, in exactly the same situation, it does not happen again."

There has been little time to do a full analysis of Newcastle, but Klopp is fully prepared to face striker Callum Wilson after he was rested against Manchester City on Boxing Day as a precaution after taking a knock on his ankle.

"I saw he didn't play. Was he injured? Look at that, Newcastle can rest Callum Wilson. So we expect him to play," said the German.

"He's a good striker, but actually they have a couple of really good players, so we have go to be ready for that.

"I cannot go into detail for the Newcastle game, but it will be another tough challenge, like all Newcastle games have always been."

PA

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