Thiago set to return to starting line up against Southampton

Champions Liverpool face a difficult trip to Southampton on Monday with manager Jurgen Klopp set to freshen things up after a dull performance at Newcastle.

That game followed similarly frustrating draws against Fulham and West Brom, suggesting the intensity of fixtures and growing injury list, could be taking its toll. Although they still just about set the pace, the Premier League has not yet reached the halfway point so there is a lot of football to come.

Thiago Alcantara made his long-awaited comeback in the nil-nil draw after more than two months out with a knee injury and is expected to make only his second start of the season, alongside Georginio Wijnaldum and Xherdan Shaqiri.

There is good news for Southampton who are set to have Ralph Hasenhuttl back in the dugout for Monday’s Premier League clash with Liverpool at St Mary’s.

The Saints Boss has been cleared to end his period of self-isolation after his wife tested positive for a Covid-19 test meaning he missed the draw with West Ham.

Liverpool seal late 2-1 Premier League Anfield win over West Ham

Jurgen Klopp’s side struggled for large parts against the Hammers but on form Diogo Jota’s late goal secured a crucial three points.

David Moyes’ side started slowly at Anfield but the visitors were gifted an opening goal inside the first ten minutes.

Joe Gomez made a complete mess of Arthur Masuaku’s cross into the box and Pablo Fornals reacted quickly to lash an effort past Alisson.

Liverpool did look to launch a response before the break with Trent Alexander-Arnold almost catching out Lukasz Fabianksi and Andy Robertson firing over.

But just as West Ham were gifted an opening goal, Liverpool were given a massive helping hand for their equaliser just before the break.

Masuaku tangled with Mo Salah inside the box and despite any contact appearing minimal, referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot, and the Egyptian tucked home.

The Reds looked to take up the initiative after the break as Klopp threw on Jota and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Those changes tipped the balance for hosts as Jota bravely converted Sadio Mane’s saved shot.

But Friend was to frustrate Liverpool this time as he ruled it out for offside against Mane.

However, Jota was not to be denied another goal in his impressive start to life at Liverpool as gambled on Shaqiri’s clever chip to fire home.

Full Time at Anfield it’s Liverpool 2 West Ham 1

Shaqiri contracts Covid-19

The 28-year-old had travelled to Switzerland for a friendly against Croatia, and Nations League games against Spain and Germany, but will now not be involved as he is self-isolating, the Swiss Football Association has announced.

Last Tuesday the Reds’ new signing Thiago Alcantara tested positive for Covid-19 and on Friday forward Sadio Mane also went into self-isolation after his positive test.

“Xherdan Shaqiri has tested positive for Covid-19. In consultation with the health authorities, he is in isolation,” said a statement from the Switzerland Football Association.

“The strict protective measures and requirements of UEFA for national teams in accordance with the ‘UEFA return to play protocol’ have been strictly adhered to since the move began.

“Based on this, clarifications are currently under way with the local health authorities about how to proceed.”

Liverpool had hoped to offload Shaqiri, who has been limited to just 82 minutes of action since January 11 – 75 minutes of which came in the Carabao Cup at Lincoln – because of injury, in the recent transfer window but interest from a couple of Italian clubs failed to materialise into an acceptable bid.