Lijnders took press conference duties ahead of the League Cup tie, as per usual, with the Reds expected to make a number of changes at Deepdale.
But the Spaniard is nearing a return, possibly as soon as the visit of Brighton on Saturday, with Lijnders explaining the situation to reporters on Tuesday.
“Thiago is still not available, but he’s progressing well on the pitch [with] individual sessions,” the assistant manager said.
“Brighton will be close, but probably not. He’s almost back, which is really important for us, of course.”
On Keita, Lijnders said: “It was a bad tackle, but luckily Naby’s foot was not on the ground.
“It’s just a bruise, could have looked much worse if his foot was on the grass. We take it day by day, but it’s looking better and better.”
Fabinho will also be assessed “day by day,” with Lijnders insisting he is “not ruled out for the weekend, but he’s ruled out for tomorrow.”
Milner, meanwhile, is likely to be out until the clash with Arsenal on November 20, with the vice-captain expected to miss the next four games with a hamstring problem.
“It looks like he’s out until the next international break,” Lijnders said, “but we spoke already withn him and he has a very important role to play.
“My title is assistant manager, but I think you can give that title to James Milner as well. He is very vocal, very lively and sets the standard.”