Jurgen Klopp hailed Thiago Alcantara’s long-awaited return to the Liverpool team, claiming there is still lots more to come from the summer signing.
The Spaniard has endured a difficult start to his English football career, following his £20million move from Bayern Munich.
The second-half appearance against Newcastle United was Thiago’s third in a Liverpool shirt, with a combination of coronavirus and injuries keeping him on the sidelines.
Before the 20-minute cameo at St James’ Park, Thiago’s previous showing was in the October 17 Merseyside derby with Everton at Goodison Park.
He suffered a knee injury in that one, missing more than two months in the process.
But after exercising caution, Klopp brought the 29-year-old off the bench with the champions struggling to break down a miserly Magpies defence.
Thiago completed 21 passes in the short time he was on the pitch, a total only bettered by one starter in Steve Bruce’s side.
And despite Liverpool failing to score for the first time in the 2020/21 season, Klopp was pleased with the display from the midfielder, as he continues his rehabilitation.
“We signed Thiago because we thought he was a good player,” said Klopp. “You can imagine we would like to have him in the team, that is clear.
“What the other boys did in the time he was not available is absolutely incredible.
“James Milner, for example, tonight played a super game in midfield, really.
“It’s good. Thiago is a super player. For the 20 minutes, 12 were brilliant and then he felt the intensity.
“That’s normal as he trained exactly twice with the team. He still has some physical work to do, still some rhythm to get.”
On an otherwise frustrating night for the Reds, Klopp was also delighted to welcome back Xherdan Shaqiri.
Like Thiago, Shaqiri has been out for a number of weeks, with a muscular injury keeping him out, but his return means they can round off the festive fixture schedule with more options.
“Shaq is back too, and that’s the best news tonight,” he added. “The boys are back and as far as I know at the moment, nobody got injured tonight, which is a very important thing.
“It means we probably can go with the same squad to Southampton.”
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