Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has joked Thiago Alcantara will be his January signing – despite the Spain international having already arrived in September.
The 29-year-old’s £20million move from Bayern Munich was hailed as a game-changer for the defending champions as it offered them world-class creativity in midfield.
However, he has played just 120 minutes – the second half at Chelsea and October’s Merseyside derby in which he sustained a significant knee injury in a challenge which saw Richarlison sent off late on.
After a couple of false dawns Klopp accepted they were not likely to see the player return until the new year and even after he took his first steps towards a comeback by starting individual outdoor training sessions Klopp played down the significance.
“We already made jokes here that we should sign Thiago for January,” said the Reds boss.
“He gets closer and closer and is in a good way but we will not rush it we cannot rush it and he will not because he is not allowed to rush it.
“But of course it’s nice having him on the pitch training, doing a lot of stuff, but he was not in team training yet and that is actually the final step.
“We will see how it is. We get (a look) at him on the pitch and then next week, can he be in team training? I don’t know at the moment 100 per cent, a few tests he has to pass until we make that decision.
“Hopefully that is not only for the case (for him), with (James) Milner it will be similar, with Shaq (Xherdan Shaqiri) it will be similar.”