Thiago Alcantara injury: Everything you need to know about the midfielder's absence

Of Liverpool's first-team squad, only two players have yet to play a single minute in 2023/24.

One is Conor Bradley, the Northern Ireland international and backup right back, who suffered a back injury back in the summer and is expected to miss most of the calendar year.

The other is Thiago Alcantara.

The 32-year-old playmaker, now in the final months of his four-year Liverpool contract, had originally been tipped to return in pre-season after injury cut short his 2022/23 campaign. However, a series of setbacks have delayed his comeback date and he is yet to feature in a matchday squad for the Reds this season.

Official word on his Thiago's recovery has been limited, with Jurgen Klopp often coy when questioned on the midfielder's absence.

Speaking to the press ahead of the Carabao Cup last 16 clash with Bournemouth, assistant manager Pep Lijnders simply said Thiago's return would 'take time'.

He said: “We miss Thiago. Can you imagine our midfield, our new players we speak about and then you have Thiago in the middle as well! Guiding the others with his experience.

"We really miss him. He will not be available; it will take time."

Klopp has since predicted that Thiago will return to action in the new year – but added there is no pressure on the star.

But what do we know about Thiago's injury?

What injury does Thiago have?

Thiago underwent surgery on a persistent hip issue back at the start of May.

At the time, the surgery was reported by Neil Jones to be 'minor' but necessary in order to help correct a long-standing hip flexor injury that reoccured during the 2022/23 season.

While the procedure ruled Thiago out of the final five Premier League fixtures of last season, the former Spain international did then travel with the rest of the Liverpool squad for their pre-season tour of Germany. However, he played no part in the friendlies and was subsequently left out of the club's trip to Singapore.

Various setbacks in his rehab have prevented Thiago from making a return to action, or even full team training, in 2023/24.

When did Thiago last play for Liverpool?

© ProShots - Thiago Alcantara

It is now six months since Thiago's hip surgery, but seven since he played a game for Liverpool.

The former Bayern Munich star came off the bench for Jordan Henderson in the 2-1 win over West Ham at the London Stadium on 26 April, 2023.

His last start for the Reds, however, was back on 4 February when Klopp's side suffered perhaps their low point of a disappointing season – losing 3-0 to Wolves at Molineux.

How many games has Thiago missed?

Though there have been high points, Thiago's time at Liverpool has been plagued by fitness issues.

The midfielder's latest injury and recovery from surgery has seen him miss 21 competitive games (and counting) in all competitions across two seasons.

With no return date yet outlined for Thiago, what the final number of 'games missed' actually ends up being is anybody's guess at this stage.

According to Transfermarkt's calculations, Thiago has missed a massive 87 games for club and country with injury issues since joining Liverpool back in the summer of 2020.

He has never played in more than 25 games in a Premier League season.

What has Jurgen Klopp said?

At the beginning of September, with Thiago supposedly starting team training, Klopp confirmed his number six had suffered a 'little setback'.

He said, ahead of the clash with Newcastle: “Thiago had a little setback. [He] started training with the team and had a little setback, so we had to slow down there a little bit.

“It’s not cool for him, not cool for us, but that’s how it is. Thiago will use the international break for that obviously, to be up to speed. That should hopefully be enough.”

Jurgen Klopp, ProShots

Later in September, Lijnders revealed that the former Barcelona star was back in individual training, saying: "He’s healing and is individual on the pitch, simple but effective. Time will tell how that goes."

In October, Klopp then confirmed another setback for Thiago.

"It’s just, for him (Thiago) especially, it’s annoying, he's now had two setbacks in the rehab," the manager said. "Not massive but enough to take him off the pitch again. Obviously not the same injury, not at all, but a bit similar."

Speaking ahead of the trip to Luton at the start of November, Klopp revealed that Thiago is 'expected' to make his long-awaited comeback in January, if all goes to plan.

He said: "Thiago is an ongoing thing. We cannot put any pressure there as well. We expect him to be back start of the New Year.

"Another four weeks, I would say that is realistic. I can't wait to have him back. No week on week update."

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