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Thiago Alcantara has been named to Liverpool’s starting XI for the second time in the Premier League this season after a long layoff due to a knee injury.
Former Bayern Munich player Thiago’s only previous outing for the Reds was in the Merseyside derby against Everton in October.
At the end of the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park, Thiago came under a headlong onslaught from Richarlison, who was red for the challenge.
Thiago continued to help secure what appeared to be a last-gasp winner for Jordan Henderson, although he was later ruled out by VAR, but the Spanish international missed the next two months of action.
Having returned to training in December, Thiago came off the bench for his third appearance with the Reds on Wednesday, but failed to inspire champions Jurgen Klopp to a victory over Newcastle United, who endured a goalless draw.
In his 22 minutes on the field, Thiago completed 21 of 23 passes. Only four Newcastle players tried harder over the course of the match.
Klopp had discussed his unwillingness to take undue risks with Thiago, who tested positive for COVID-19 shortly after making his Liverpool debut against Chelsea, but the Reds manager returned the 29-year-old to his starting lineup for Monday’s game in Southampton. .
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Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 4, 2021
With Liverpool looking to break a two-game winless streak, Thiago entered as one of three changes, alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and former Southampton player Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, making his first start to the season in the league.
Jordan Henderson was placed in a makeshift defense alongside Fabinho, with Joel Matip out due to a groin problem. The Liverpool captain also played center-back in the second half of a 1-1 draw with Fulham last month.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino got the go-ahead in attack.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League meetings with Southampton, keeping a clean sheet in six of those games, although their recent lapses have allowed Manchester United to level points with them at the top.