Liverpool daily briefing: Has Thiago played his last game for the Reds?
The LFC stories you need for Friday 9 February...
Good morning everyone, and welcome to your latest daily briefing courtesy of Covering Liverpool.
It’s the eve of the Reds’ Premier League clash with Burnley, and there’s plenty going on at Anfield as you would expect.
Here are the stories you need to be across today…
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Is Thiago’s Reds career done?
The big news on Thursday surrounded Thiago Alcântara, who it emerged suffered a fresh injury blow during his brief cameo appearance at Arsenal on Sunday.
The Spaniard came off the bench in the 84th minute at the Emirates, for what was his first competitive appearance since last April, having recovered from a long-standing hip issue.
But unfortunately, the 32-year-old subsequently suffered a hamstring injury, and my information is that this is not a minor setback either.
In fact, the injury is bad enough to cast doubt as to whether the former Bayern Munich man may have played his last game for Liverpool. Thiago is out of contract at the end of the season, and even if he were to return to action before then, it is hard to make a convincing case that the Reds should renew it.
Since joining in 2020, he has started only 71 games, and though his levels during the 2021-22 season, in particular, were spectacular at times, it feels unlikely that the Reds will ever see him at his very best again.
Klopp will be holding his press conference at 1.30pm at the AXA Training Centre today, where he will be expected to update on Thiago’s situation.
Reds train ahead of Burnley
Minus Thiago, Liverpool’s players braved the rain, sleet and wind at the AXA to train ahead of Saturday’s game.
Wataru Endō was among those who took part, and there were call-ups for young strikers Jayden Danns, Kaide Gordon and Lewis Koumas too.
Absent, though, were Mohamed Salah, who was seen in the gym continuing his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury, and Dominik Szoboszlai, who is expected to miss at least a couple of weeks with his own hamstring problem.
Joe Gomez, too, seemed to be missing from the training pictures. Let’s hope that isn’t another injury issue for Klopp to contend with.
Kompany’s Klopp respect
I went up to Burnley’s Barnfield Training Centre on Thursday to hear from Vincent Company ahead of the Clarets’ trip to Merseyside.
He seems a good fella, Company, and he spoke well when asked about Liverpool, and the work Jürgen Klopp has done this season.
“If I compare the Liverpool teams I played against and the Liverpool team I am seeing now, for me they are there and thereabouts again,” he said. “It’s clear, and it is not just with results, it’s to do with how the team moves, the confidence they have when they are pressing, when they are on the front foot.
“And with players who are still getting integrated as well, some of them. How quickly they have assimilated the ideas of better Liverpool teams that we have seen in recent times.
“It’s normal, it’s how you turn a squad around, you evolve. They have evolved, especially in how they treat possession. But the key ingredients are back from what I can tell.”
On Klopp, Kompany added: “[I know him] just from playing against teams for a good chunk of the 20 years he’s been a manager. It started already for me in Germany playing from Hamburg.
“Who he is as a person has always lived in every team he’s coached. That’s something I’ve seen for 20 years.”
Klopp up for manager of the month
Jürgen Klopp has been nominated for January’s Premier League Manager of the Month award.
The Reds boss is up against Mikel Arteta (Arsenal), Rob Edwards (Luton Town) and Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) for the accolade.
You can cast a vote for Klopp here, until 12pm GMT on Monday.
Women hope for FA Cup progress
Liverpool FC Women will be looking to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Adobe Women’s FA Cup when they take on London City Lionesses on Sunday (2pm GMT).
Looking ahed to the game, manager Matt Beard said: “We had some tough games against them in the FA Women’s Championship and Dartford is a tough place to go and play because it’s a tight pitch. It’s going to be an interesting game.
“Obviously they are struggling in the league for whatever reason but they’ve got a lot of experienced players in their team – including Megan Campbell, who we know well and has just signed for them from Everton. Meg is cup-tied for this game.
“They also have our former player Jade Bailey, who has just gone there, and have experience in Emma Mukandi, Ruesha Littlejohn, Danielle Carter and goalkeeper Grace Moloney.
“In these types of cup games, form does go out of the window. It’s going to be an interesting game as they do have an experienced squad full of WSL players.
“As I’ve said all along, we want to do well in cup competitions this year. With the strength and depth we’ve got in the squad this season, we utilised the Continental League Cup to keep everyone fit and sharp. But with the FA Cup, we are treating it the same as the league.
“Hopefully we will be in the hat for the next round come Sunday night and, as ever, we will be giving it everything we have got. The FA Cup is still, in my opinion, the greatest cup competition in women’s football.”
Let’s hope for some smiling red faces come 4pm Sunday!
Academy sides in action
The U18s are U21s are both in action this weekend.
The U18s start us off on Saturday, hosting Blackburn Rovers at the academy (11am GMT).
Then, on Sunday, the U21s take on Stoke City up at Kirkby in PL2 (2pm GMT).
Good luck, boys!
Premier League fixtures
Saturday (3pm GMT unless stated)
Manchester City v Everton (12.30pm)
Fulham v Bournemouth
Liverpool v Burnley
Luton Town v Sheffield United
Tottenham Hotspur v Brighton & Hove Albion
Nottingham Forest v Newcastle United (5.30pm)
West Ham United v Arsenal (2pm)
Aston Villa v Manchester United (4.30pm)
Crystal Palace v Chelsea (8pm)
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