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Thiago gives Liverpool pre-season boost ahead of familiar Anfield friendlies

After missing Liverpool’s pre-season friendlies with Bologna due to a minor injury, Thiago is now back in full training and could feature against Athletic Club or Osasuna.

Thiago was among the last to report back for pre-season following Spain’s participation at the Euros, and he did so with an injury.

The Spaniard, who spent his downtime in Paris and Ibiza, has been unable to join the squad for their regular training programme in Austria and France due to a fitness concern.

This forced him to sit out of the 60-minute friendlies against Bologna on Thursday, instead taking a place in the dugout alongside Klopp, Peter Krawietz, Pepijn Lijnders, Vitor Matos, Jack Robinson, John Achterberg and Andreas Kornmayer.

He still made his presence felt as he gave advice to youngsters Leighton Clarkson and Kaide Gordon during the interval, but Thiago will have been disappointed not to clock his first minutes of pre-season.

Before the game, Klopp revealed that his No. 6 would be back “next week [at the] latest,” while Lijnders explained that he was “close” to rejoining the squad in full training.

Now, Thiago has been pictured with the rest of the squad as they continued pre-season on their final day in Evian on Friday, which should put him in contention for the upcoming Anfield friendlies.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0 and finished 3rd in the table. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool will play Athletic Club on Sunday and Osasuna on Monday, with Klopp also expecting Jordan Henderson to play “a few minutes” having already begun training back on Merseyside.

The pair will still be considered doubts for the Premier League opener against Norwich on August 14, however, with Fabinho likely to anchor a new-look midfield.

James Milner, Naby Keita and Harvey Elliott are among the options to feature regularly in the middle of the park in pre-season, and their higher fitness and sharpness could give them the edge as starters at Carrow Road.

Curtis Jones is another candidate, but it seems telling that Elliott has been deployed more frequently than the 20-year-old, who may be required to wait patiently for his chances.

The majority of Klopp’s starting lineup for the Premier League opener has already taken shape, it would seem, with 13 players – including 12 outfielders – clocking the full 60 minutes across the two games against Bologna.

Milner, Keita, Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were among those to do so, while Fabinho could play at least an hour against either Athletic Club or Osasuna, in front of around 40,000 fans at Anfield.

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