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What Jurgen Klopp has said on Thiago return after midfielder spotted at the AXA

Thiago has raised hope among supporters with a rare update from the AXA Training Centre, and the Liverpool midfielder may finally be nearing a return.

It is now seven-and-a-half months since Thiago‘s last appearance for Liverpool, having undergone surgery to correct a long-standing hip problem in April.

The 32-year-old did make a brief return to first-team training towards the start of the current campaign, but a cruel setback has left him sidelined since.

Tuesday brought a welcome update of sorts from the No. 6, however, as he shared a post from the AXA Training Centre – his first involving football since August.

While there was little to it, with Thiago simply pictured walking into the training ground, it has sparked renewed hopes among fans that he is now close to a comeback.

That was boosted further as he joined his team-mates for a squad photo to commemorate Mohamed Salah‘s 200 goals for the club.

It was notable that he, Andy Robertson, Stefan Bajcetic and Diogo Jota, players who are believed to be working towards a return in the near future, wore trainers while the remainder of the senior squad were in sliders.

Alexis Mac Allister was absent, meanwhile, as the Argentine continues to recover from the knee injury suffered against Sheffield United.

Whether Thiago is close to returning to action remains to be seen, but Jurgen Klopp did set out a useful timeline when discussing the midfielder at the start of November.

“It’s an ongoing thing,” Klopp told reporters.

“And we cannot put any kind of pressure there as well, but we expect him to be back probably start of the New Year.

“It’s now already November, that would mean another four weeks, I would say that’s probably a realistic thing to try.

“We can’t wait, to be honest, to have him back. The player is just exceptional.

“I understand that you ask, but we can’t now have a week-by-week update, because that will not change a lot in this moment.”

At the time it seemed as though Klopp’s words were perhaps lost in translation, but the “realistic” date of four weeks from then has now passed, which could indicate that Thiago may soon rejoin training.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 2, 2023: Liverpool's injured Thiago Alcântara before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking earlier this month, however, the manager said: “Nothing changed, we said that needs time and we will give him that time.

“I see him every day, still a fantastic guy who works hard to get back.”

Either way, Klopp will be eager to manage expectations of a player who, in his early 30s, has required major hip surgery.

But any contribution from Thiago in the coming months, during what is expected to be his final season with Liverpool, would be cherished by manager and supporters alike.