Jurgen Klopp has confirmed that Thiago Alcantara will miss Liverpool’s pivotal Premier League clash with Manchester City on Sunday. Liverpool moved to the top of the table last weekend with a win over West Ham, before thrashing Atalanta in the Champions League.
They will be looking to continue their fine form with a win over City, the team most recognise as Liverpool’s sternest competition in the race to retain their league title.
But, they will be forced to take on Pep Guardiola’s side without summer signing Thiago. The Spaniard has endured a frustrating start to life at Anfield.
After making his debut against Chelsea in September, he missed a period of time after testing positive for coronavirus. He then returned to face Everton at Goodison Park, where he was the victim of a cruniching tackle by Richarlison.
The Brazilian striker was sent off for his part in the incident, but Thiago’s absence looks set to go on, with the Liverpool boss confirming he will not be part of this weekend’s travelling party.
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“There is no surgery needed, but it’s still an injury which we need to look [at] day-to-day. He will not be available for Sunday,” Klopp confirmed.
In more positive news for the champions, their injury issues at centre-back look set to be eased after Joel Matip was declared fit for the trip to the Etihad.
The Cameroon international has played just 91 minutes in the Premier League season, but was on the bench in Italy in midweek and could be ready for a start on Sunday.
On Matip, Klopp said: “Joel is back and has had seven or eight or nine days training and after the game there is another 14 days training. We will see what we will do.”
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Elsewhere, Klopp’s biggest selection headache is whether he will stick with Diogo Jota – who scored a hat-trick against Atalanta – or bring back Roberto Firmino.
Jota has seven goals in his first ten games for the club, the best start by a Liverpool striker since Robbie Fowler in 1993. But the Reds boss has suggested his hot start hasn’t come as any sort of a shock following his Wolves transfer.
“I am not surprised but I don’t expect that. I give them the time the boys need,” he added. “Van Dijk played a week after we signed him. It’s not one way for all players. He’s the player we thought, we thought we could help him reach the next level. He’s still young, just 23 and he’s hard working.
“He played in a hard working team at Wolves so that helps. I’m really happy with the impact so far.”
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The Portuguese’s blistering start has led to some claiming he should start the game against City, instead of Firmino.
Despite that, Klopp has doubled down on his belief in Firmino and hinted that he will take his place back in the starting line-up.
“I don’t have to say one word about Bobby Firmino and how important he is for us.
“I don’t waste time with that. He was in so many games the difference maker. I would feel really embarrassed now if I had to mention the qualities of Bobby Firmino.”
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