Jurgen Klopp may deploy forgotten Liverpool man against Everton

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp may deploy ‘forgotten man’ Thiago Alcantara when Everton visit Anfield on Saturday for the first Merseyside derby of the season. The Spain international is yet to appear this term after undergoing surgery to rectify a hip issue towards the end of the last campaign.

Liverpool struggled for form last term and missed out on a place in this season’s Champions League as they could only muster a fifth-place Premier League finish. The Reds had issues in the centre of the pitch, with the likes of Thiago, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson all failing to find their sparkle.

But Thiago is the only one of that trio remaining in the north west after the other two were shipped off to Saudi Arabia over the summer. Klopp bolstered his central options by signing Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton, Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig, Wataru Endo from Stuttgart and Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich during the summer transfer window.

He has been rewarded with improved displays from his side. And Liverpool have climbed to fourth in the Premier League table after winning five of their opening eight matches.

But Thiago could still have a crucial role to play at Anfield this season. He has previously been a star performer under Klopp and helped Liverpool win the FA Cup and Carabao Cup in 2021-2022, the same season he was named in the PFA Team of the Year.

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Thiago isn’t expected to start against the Toffees, with Klopp likely to stick with the players who have helped the side kick on during the early part of the season. But the 32-year-old could be handed a place on the bench and could get a late runout after returning to full training recently.

Liverpool will be desperate for victory over Everton after picking up just one point from their last two matches before the international break. The Reds were beaten 2-1 by Tottenham in late September after Luis Diaz wrongly had a goal ruled out for offside. And Klopp’s men were then held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton in their next clash.

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“We kept going and that’s why I think really we deserved the resilience we showed there and the stubbornness we showed in that moment,” Klopp said after the draw with the Seagulls.

“Okay, let’s go for it, and around this we won another ball where we could have scored with so, no, I was not surprised, to be honest. I know some moments they had the upper hand, but that’s it and I really think if we had scored the third one, we would have deserved to win; definitely. But I guess it was like it was.”

Thiago’s return, though, could help them get back to winning ways in the Merseyside derby. The classy midfielder’s return is a huge boost as Liverpool look to continue to compete on all fronts.

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