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Thiago Alcantra has placed himself in contention for a return against Premier League leaders Arsenal after getting through this week’s training with Liverpool.
Due to a hip injury, the Spain international midfielder has missed the last ten games for Liverpool, during which the Reds’ Champions League prospects have seemingly disintegrated and their league form has stuttered.
Thiago To Make Squad Return This Weekend
But after a week of training with the first-team squad, Thiago has been reported to have demonstrated his fitness in a rigorous 11-on-11 match between two Liverpool teams and performed without incident.
This puts him in contention to face Mikel Arteta’s Gunners on Sunday at Anfield, in what will be a big game for Liverpool with regards confidence and momentum.
The former Bayern Munich playmaker could be joined on the field by Luis Diaz, who trained with the first team squad this week after a five-month layoff.
The Colombian international has been sidelined since suffering an injury against Arsenal in October, and manager Jurgen Klopp has acknowledged that he must be cautious with the winger’s recovery.
With Liverpool now needing a a huge run of positive results to finish in the top four and secure Champions League football for next season, Diaz and Thiago’s return to the lineup could offer the Reds a huge boost.
There was more positive news for Liverpool this week too, as center-back Virgil van Dijk returned to training following an illness that kept him out of Wednesday’s 0-0 draw at Chelsea.
Returning Players Could Offer Boost in Reds’ Quest for Europe
With 10 games remaining, Liverpool must close a 10-point gap to fourth-place Manchester United. It will be a massive uphill task for the side that have struggled to gain any real momentum this season.
Klopp will likely not start all three players returning players on Sunday, but they could offer an impact off the bench.
Having endured a difficult trip to Chelsea on Tuesday, Klopp will be hoping that his squad can deliver an inspired performance against the Gunners.
The Reds played out a scoreless draw with the London side, but the side’s German manager saw positives.
“The recovery, the desire to sort the situation, I liked,” said manager Jurgen Klopp. “Nil-nil. Not the most spectacular one, but a step for us. A little step, but a step in the right direction.”
“I don’t expect us to have no confidence, but I know we have to put the hard work first,” he said.
“It’s not a situation where you go out with backheels and one-twos. We have to fight through,” the manager added, “I know that’s not what people want to hear, but you cannot change that.”
“I saw a really good attitude from my team tonight and that’s what I wanted to see. This is the basis for the rest of the season.”
Following their hosting of Arsenal on Merseyside, the Reds face a trip to Elland Road where they will face Javi Gracia’s relegation threatened Leeds United.
The Yorkshire side have experienced an upturn in form in recent weeks however, and Liverpool will need to carry some confidence into that fixture if they are to secure three points.
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