Liverpool have been handed an injury boost with Thiago Alcantara edging closer to his long-awaited return to action.
Thiago has not featured since suffering a knee injury in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw at Everton on October 18 – his first Premier League start for the club.
And while he still has some way to go before he is considered for selection – manager Jurgen Klopp has already said the club will be ultra-careful when managing his return – fans will be encouraged at the sight of the 29-year-old stepping up his recovery.
There was another boost for Klopp with the sight of Joel Matip back in training, having missed Wednesday’s vital 2-1 win over Tottenham with a back issue.
The Cameroon international was substituted at half-time of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Fulham last Sunday, and was not deemed fit enough for the visit of Spurs, with teenager Rhys Williams deputising impressively on his league debut.
But Matip was pictured in full training on Thursday, alongside a number of youngsters and other players who didn’t feature against Tottenham, including midfield duo Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, both of whom are working their way back to full fitness after injury issues of their own.
Liverpool are in action this Saturday, taking on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in the lunchtime kick-off.
They will be without Diogo Jota and Kostas Tsimikas, both of whom are set to be missing until at least late-January with knee issues, while James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri are yet to resume training after muscle problems. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are long-term absentees.
The Reds head into the weekend top of the Premier League after Roberto Firmino’s late winner against Spurs, and can ensure they stay there for Christmas by avoiding defeat against Roy Hodgson’s Palace.
And they go into the game boosted by the news that Klopp, for the second year in a row, has been named FIFA Best Men’s Coach.
The German saw off competition from Bayern Munich’s Hansi Flick and Leeds’ Marcelo Bielsa to land the award.
“I am shocked,” he said. “I was sitting here because I thought last year I won it. I am here with my players. Thank you very much, wow.
“I have so many people to thank and most of all my coaches. If I had known we’d won it my coaches would be here with me. What we did in the last year is all about these boys.
“We didn’t dream 30 years but we dream already for a few years. It was absolutely exceptional and we all had a special year, in an unfortunately not so positive way, but for Liverpool fans at least we could make some highlights in a tricky period.
Source : goal.com