LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 17, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara walks back to the dressing room at full time after an injury time winning goal was disallowed following a VAR review during the FA Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC, the 237th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool “will not rush” Thiago return, will sit out vs. West Brom

Thiago’s return to action could come against Newcastle in Liverpool’s final game of 2020, not West Brom, after making a successful step in his return to training.

The Spaniard has been sidelined since October 17 after a nasty challenge from Richarlison in the Merseyside derby inflicted a “massive impact” injury on his knee.

Thiago’s return was delayed as pain lingered despite nothing being ruptured or broke, ensuring patience was the key as he plotted his return.

And he successfully rejoined the rest of the playing group on Wednesday more than two months after the points of injury ahead of West Brom’s visit in the final home game of 2020.

But his Anfield bow could be pushed into 2021 as the Reds opt for caution in re-introducing the world-class midfielder back into the mix.

Thiago’s comeback coincides with fitness boosts to both James Milner and Xherdan Shaqiri, with the pair having also taken part in training after recovering from respective injury concerns.

And ahead of the Baggies’ visit on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp provided a brief update on his squad.

Thiago made first steps back towards team training, not involved in full session but takes good steps, and unfortunately after a long time we will not rush it,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 20, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara celebrates at the final whistle during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“Other guys are further, or closer. Shaq trained really good and Milly yesterday full session and today a little bit adapted.

“We have a new situation for us, we still have two training days until we have to make a decision, it looks good.

Thiago not involved [vs. West Brom],” Klopp added. “He needs to be first in full training sessions before we start thinking about it, but he’s not too far away I hope.”

It suggests a place on the bench could be saved for Milner and Shaqiri, while the trip to Newcastle on December 30 could provide the chance for Thiago to feature.

With Joel Matip, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also firmly back in the mix after their own fitness battles, the Reds have finally received a welcome boost to personnel.

Despite being besieged by injury, the Reds currently sit top of the Premier League table and the growing number of options ahead of another congested run of fixtures will provide an ideal chance to rotate with greater efficiency and effectiveness.