Diogo Jota scored twice in the first half as Liverpool romped to a comfortable 4-0 victory over Southampton at Anfield on Saturday.

The Portugal forward grabbed his first with less than two minutes played, turning Andy Robertson's low ball in before adding a second from close range after being set up by Mohamed Salah half an hour later.

Thiago Alcantara fired in a deflected third to give the Reds a commanding half-time lead before Virgil van Dijk steered a corner home to round off the scoring shortly after the restart.

The victory sees Liverpool keep the pressure up on league leaders Chelsea, moving to within a point of the Blues – although the Reds have played an extra game.

Liverpool got off to a flying start as Sadio Mane and Robertson combined on the left before the latter fizzed a low cross into the middle that Jota converted on the stretch.

A couple of chances fell Southampton's way after that, but Liverpool remained the side on top and doubled their lead in the 32nd minute as Salah squared for Jota to tap in his second after playing a neat one-two with Jordan Henderson on the right.

The Reds made it 3-0 just five minutes later as the ball fell to Thiago on the edge of the box and the midfielder advanced into the area before lashing a left-footed strike into the top-left corner via a hefty deflection off the knee of Lyanco.

Van Dijk extended Liverpool's advantage even further in the 52nd minute, volleying Trent Alexander-Arnold's corner under Alex McCarthy – who perhaps should have done better – and in.

Jota spurned a glorious chance to grab his hat-trick, diverting Robertson's cross wide of the target as Jurgen Klopp's men eased their way to the final whistle.

What does it mean? Reds put pressure on Chelsea

Liverpool's victory moves them to within one point of Thomas Tuchel's table-topping Chelsea side, with the Blues set for a heavyweight clash with Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Salah races to Premier League goal involvement landmark

Salah has now been directly involved in 150 Premier League goals in his 171 games in the competition (108 goals, 42 assists) – only Alan Shearer (148 games) and Thierry Henry (163 games) reached as many goal involvements in fewer games than the Egypt star in the competition.

Salah has also been directly involved in 25 goals in all competitions this season (17 goals, eight assists), more than double the return of any other Premier League player.

Jota matches Wolves league tally

Jota has now scored 32 career Premier League goals, evenly split between Wolves and Liverpool (16 each).

He has reached the tally for the Reds in 36 fewer appearances, however (67 for Wolves, 31 for Liverpool) and with a better shot conversion rate (12.6 per cent with Wolves, 21.9 per cent with Liverpool).

What's next?

Liverpool's next fixture is a Merseyside derby with Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday, while Southampton host Leicester City on the same day.

Jurgen Klopp promised Liverpool will do everything possible to ensure Thiago Alcantara stays fit enough to star throughout their Premier League title push.

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker Thiago joined Liverpool in the wake of their 2019-20 league triumph and has endured a stop-start Anfield career.

Injuries have disrupted his progress and the 30-year-old Spain international has struggled to show his best form on a consistent basis.

A stunning Champions League goal against Porto on Wednesday was the highlight of a polished performance that followed an impressive display against Arsenal last week, though it remains to be seen whether Thiago starts on Saturday against Southampton.

Klopp wants to pace Thiago through the season rather than risk him suffering further physical woes, knowing his creative contributions could be hugely important.

"He's an incredible player for us of course, but we've found solutions when he was not available," said Klopp. "We have an incredible choice of players there [in midfield].

"Thiago has a very specific skill-set and is very helpful on the pitch when he has rhythm. The challenge we face is to make sure he can gain rhythm but not overdo it. We have that will all the players, pretty much.

"That's the challenge we face all the time, especially with all the games coming up."

Thiago arrived from Bayern with a big reputation but did not manage a single assist in 30 games last season across all competitions, although he created an average of 1.43 chances per 90 minutes played. That was down on most of his past seasons with Barcelona and Bayern, albeit it bettered his average for his final campaign at both clubs.

This season is still in its early stages, but Thiago is showing improvement in many areas of his game, with an assist already in the bag, his chances created in all competitions up to 1.82 per 90 minutes, and gains achieved in passes in the opposition half (49.67 per 90, up from 46.35), touches (102.3 per 90, up from 98.28) and ball recoveries (8.2, up from 7.47).

Klopp is enjoying having midfield options after a rash of injuries cleared up, describing it as "cool" to be in a position where his hand is not forced by limited availability.

He predicted a "proper fight" against Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton, although Liverpool have won seven of their last eight Premier League games against Saturday's visitors. The exception came recently: a 1-0 away loss in January last season.

Since a 1-0 win in September 2013, Southampton have gone winless in their last seven away league games against Liverpool (D2 L5), losing their last four at Anfield by an aggregate score of 12-0.

Klopp called Southampton "a proper team", "a very well drilled team", and said Liverpool, who sit third in the table going into the weekend, would need to be creatively sharp to find a way through their defence.

It is a 3pm kick-off at Anfield, and Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 25 Premier League games kicking off at that time on a Saturday (W22 D3) since a 2-0 loss at Hull in February 2017.

The Reds' last such loss at home was against West Ham in August 2015 under Brendan Rodgers (W18 D5 since at Anfield).

Southampton, for all Klopp's praise, have been pushovers on the road by most standards, though they managed a shock goalless draw at Manchester City in September. They have lost 13 of their 17 Premier League away games in 2021 (W2 D2), conceding 43 goals in this run (2.5 per game).

Jurgen Klopp marvelled over a Thiago Alcantara "thunderbolt" but felt Liverpool were somewhat fortunate to beat Porto 2-0 in the Champions League.

Klopp rung the changes for Wednesday's clash at Anfield, with the Reds already through to the round of 16 as Group B winners.

Porto had their chances and were made to pay for their profligacy when Thiago fired home a sublime long-range first-time finish in the second half before Mohamed Salah clinically took his goal tally for the season to 17.

Thiago has endured a frustrating start to his Reds career, but he showed outstanding technique to get off the mark for the season and pulled the strings in the middle of the park alongside Champions League debutant Tyler Morton.

Klopp said of the Spain international's world-class finish: "We had bigger chances in the game than that. Incredible. 

"I see that in training, I know he has the technique to do it, but you don't always hit a thunderbolt like that. We needed some moments, some luck, they had big chances on the counter-attack."

Klopp gave key men a rest with qualification already assured and the Liverpool manager expects a stronger showing against Southampton in the Premier League this weekend.

He said: "We could have lost this tonight. We were lucky in moments, yes. We have moments when we're not cool to play against, true, but I didn't expect that tonight.

"I didn't expect a ruthless pressing machine, we grew into the game and that's what I am happy about. We have to play better against Southampton as they are a machine."

The German added: "We had lots to think about, who is injured. who hasn't played, who needs a rest.

"No one felt like they needed a rest as [playing] Saturday-Wednesday the boys are used to that, but it's about the games coming up, so we needed the boys in a rhythm. It all worked out. No injuries, all good."

Liverpool have won all five Champions League matches this season, while Porto remain second ahead of a decisive final group game at home to Atletico Madrid in a fortnight.

Milan, who face Liverpool at San Siro in their last group match, and Atleti are just a point behind Porto after the Serie A side beat the LaLiga champions 1-0.

Thiago Alcantara's sublime long-range strike set Liverpool on their way to a 2-0 Champions League win over Porto at Anfield.

The Reds had already qualified as Group B winners with two matches to spare, so teenager Tyler Morton made his Champions League debut as Jurgen Klopp rung the changes.

Liverpool maintained their perfect record in Europe this season despite being without key men, Thiago scoring his first goal of the season in style with a magnificent second-half finish.

Mohamed Salah added a second as Porto were made to pay for missed opportunities, leaving them facing a decisive final group match against Atletico Madrid in the battle for a place in the round of 16 along with Liverpool.

Porto should have had an early lead when Otavio somehow failed to hit the target with the goal gaping after Luis Diaz showed great pace to burst away and unselfishly set him up.

The Primeira Liga leaders had a let-off when goalkeeper Diogo Costa's poor attempted clearance struck Sadio Mane on the head and fell nicely for Salah, but the prolific forward could not apply the finish.

Porto lost captain Pepe to an injury before Mane had a goal disallowed for offside in a first half that saw Sergio Conceicao's side pose a threat without having a cutting edge.

Mateus Uribe almost capitalised on slack Reds defending when he spun sharply in the penalty area and drilled a right-foot shot narrowly wide as Porto continued to probe after the break.

Thiago made them pay for their profligacy seven minutes into second half, firing into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards out with a stunning first-time drive after Porto failed to clear an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain free-kick.

Takumi Minamino had a goal ruled out for offside, but Salah doubled Liverpool's lead when he took a pass from Jordan Henderson and surged inside before finding the bottom-right corner with his left foot to take his tally for the season to 17.

Liverpool playmaker Thiago Alcantara has not considered a return to Barcelona, insisting he is "100 per cent' happy with his choice to move to Anfield.

Thiago has not had it easy with injuries since his transfer to Liverpool from Bayern Munich in 2020.

The Spain international contracted COVID-19 shortly after his arrival, before suffering an injury due to a tackle from Everton's Richarlison during his full debut in October last year.

He played just 24 league games last season, starting 20 of them, scoring once.

More niggling injury issues have restricted the 30-year-old to eight appearances across all competitions so far this term. However, he does seem to be rediscovering something close to his best form, at least from a creative standpoint.

Per 90 minutes played, Thiago creates on average 2.2 chances, tied with Mohamed Salah for third place in Liverpool's squad behind Trent Alexander-Arnold (3.2) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (2.7), while 305 of his 345 attempted passes have found a team-mate (an 88.4 per cent accuracy).

Following Xavi taking over from Ronald Koeman at Barca, however, there had been reports linking Thiago with a return to his former club, with the Blaugrana's new coach reportedly keen to reunite with his old team-mate.

Thiago, though, says he is perfectly happy at Anfield.

"As always, I am a guy who plays football," he told a news conference ahead of Liverpool's Champions League meeting with Porto on Wednesday.

"I am not focused on the rumours, I am focused on the duty I have with my team, the years that I have on the contract and I just want to know about this new adventure that I have here in the Premier League, trying to win all the trophies that I can with this team."

"One hundred per cent I made the right choice, the right move," he added when asked if he had any doubts over his move to the Premier League due to the amount of injuries he has sustained.

"The injuries stop the frequency to play, and to know how the team performs on the pitch.

"You can watch football and all the time it's awesome but putting it into practice is even better. It's a pity football has [injuries] but it's part of football, part of life, when we are fit we have to put in as high performances as we can.

"I think the first year was very interrupted because of the COVID situation, injury. I had a quick adaptation. We struggled last season, for many reasons.

"This year, you know much better your team-mates, the runs that they make, the way they prefer to receive the ball, the way they defend, how they attack. To me the most important thing is to try to win in the way we want to win."

Thiago has collected four LaLiga titles, seven Bundesliga crowns and three Champions League winners' medals across a glittering career, working under some of Europe's top coaches, including Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola, Hansi Flick and, now, Jurgen Klopp.

"First of all, I had the luck to play with great players, great teams. I remember the time with Pep was different to Ancelotti and time with Tito [Vilanova] was different to Pep also," he said when asked to compare playing under Guardiola and Klopp. 

"With these two coaches [Guardiola and Klopp] we can see, they both have the same charisma. Also, they have the group in their hands, they make them perform better. The similarities are there. 

"The difference is how the teams play. One is much more possession. It's great both are doing what they want in the greatest way football can bring."

Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Roberto Firmino has sustained a "serious hamstring injury" and is set for a spell on the sidelines.

Firmino was introduced at half-time in the Reds' 2-0 Champions League win over Atletico Madrid at Anfield on Wednesday, but was forced off in the 78th minute.

When the striker will return to action is not clear, but Klopp expects the Brazil international to be out for at least four weeks.

"Bobby is not good news with a serious hamstring injury, really unfortunate," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "We don’t know exactly how long he will be out, but it will be not now after the international break directly. We have to work on that."

Klopp reiterated the significance of the 30-year-old's absence in his pre-match news conference ahead of a Premier League meeting with West Ham on Sunday:

The German boss said: "Losing Bobby Firmino is a blow. I don't think I need to say how big it is. It's a serious injury.

"We talk about weeks - more than four I consider as a serious injury. Then we have to see. Bobby is a quick healer."

Joe Gomez (calf) and Curtis Jones [eye] are also out of the Reds' trip to London, but Klopp expects both to return after the upcoming international break. 

Klopp was less sure about Naby Keita and James Milner, but hopes they will be back in action before long as they recover from thigh injuries.

"Curtis is a completely different story [to Firmino], he was very unlucky in training – he got a finger that scratched the eye," Klopp continued to Liverpool's official website. 

"I had a lot of injuries to players in my career, that was not [one]. He is on the way back but we have to see how long exactly. 

"He will be back after the international break, for sure, but in the international break we have to see when he can start doing proper stuff again. And Joey, hopefully, after the international break as well.

"We will see [about Keita and Milner]. For them, I have hope for after the international break but I don’t know exactly. We have to wait. That’s two weeks and a few days from now on, so that’s what I would really wish for but I cannot promise that. But that’s what we are working on."

Liverpool will be without Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcantara for Sunday's Premier League clash with Manchester City.

Full-back Alexander-Arnold sat out the 5-1 Champions League win at Porto on Tuesday due to a muscle problem, while Thiago has missed the Reds' previous three games with a calf injury.

Manager Jurgen Klopp does not expect either to be available until after the international break.

Speaking to the club's website on Thursday, he said: "No 'news' means they are doing well but they won't have enough time for being back against City, but I expect them both to be back after the international break. 

"But we have a good team so we still have solutions and we have to use them and yeah, after the international break the boys will be back I think."

City won 4-1 at Anfield last season to end a 17-game run without an away league win over Klopp's men.

Liverpool, who are on a 16-game unbeaten run in league football, will be hoping to avoid suffering back-to-back defeats to City for the first time since 1937.

The Reds go into the latest round of matches at the top of the table, one point ahead of a five-team chasing pack that includes City, Chelsea, Manchester United, Everton and Brighton and Hove Albion.

Thiago Alcantara will miss Liverpool's next three matches, including the clash with Premier League champions Manchester City, due to a calf injury.

The midfielder sustained the problem during last week's 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Anfield and was replaced by Naby Keita after 62 minutes.

Keita was also injured in the EFL Cup win at Norwich City, suffering a foot concern during the first half at Carrow Road.

While Keita is due to sit out the league game at Brentford on Saturday and possibly the Champions League trip to Porto, Thiago is not expected to return until after the international break next month, meaning he will miss the meeting with Pep Guardiola's City on October 3.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp said on Friday: "It's not 100 per cent clear when Thiago will be back. It's a muscle, in the calf. After the international break, probably. I don't think anything earlier is possible. We will have to see.

"[Keita is] Nothing really serious but it keeps him out for the next game for sure, maybe longer. It's of course not cool when the players have a good pre-season, can play a lot of games and are now out. It happens throughout the season. Hopefully, when they come back, that's it now and they can play the rest of the season."

Liverpool have started the season in strong fashion, with four wins and a draw from their first five top-flight games in which they have scored 12 goals and conceded just once.

However, Klopp is expecting a tough test against a Brentford side who shocked Arsenal on the opening day of their first campaign in the Premier League.

"I watched the press conference of [Brentford boss] Thomas Frank, and it was like one of the most entertaining things I've watched in the last few years. Half an hour talking about the different players – it was really good," said Klopp.

"The football they play is incredible, the organisation is incredible, so Thomas has obviously done a brilliant job, Brentford are doing a brilliant job. They show with lesser money how possible it is to create something really special.

"It reminds me of my time at Mainz: we had no money, we had to be really creative in the transfer market. There's a massive difference between the money Brentford has and Mainz had, but it shows it's still possible."

Takumi Minanimo will be hoping for his first league outing of the season after scoring twice in the 3-0 win at Norwich, and Klopp believes the Japan forward has become a "different player" since his loan spell with Southampton last season.

"Taki is really an outstanding talent," he said. "You come from Asia, go to Salzburg, come to Liverpool, Liverpool are not in the best phase of their lives, he came in when everything was difficult – no supporters in the stadium, all that stuff – and you need to get used to the Premier League. That's how it is.

"It helped massively that he went to Southampton. He came back a completely different player. You can see that now: his finishes are in an incredible moment, how he connects the game, how he drops at the right moment. He's a different package now. Players need time. He used that time."

Jurgen Klopp's assistant Pep Ljinders called for Liverpool to be patient with new signing Ibrahima Konate ahead of their EFL Cup tie with Norwich City.

The centre-back joined for a fee reported to be in the region of £36million (€42.5m) from RB Leipzig in the off-season and made his top-flight debut against Crystal Palace on Saturday, though he remains behind Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip in the pecking order.

However, Ljinders suggested Van Dijk was an exception to the rule as he used Andy Robertson as an example of how long it can take to settle into life at Anfield.

"Robbo said to him [Konate] 'we all needed time to adjust to the style'," Ljinders told Monday's news conference.

"Virgil is probably one of the only ones to come and settle in straight away.

"Ibrahima is a beast physicaly. He can catch so many players. He's settling in well. He's still so young. It was great for him to get his debut and move on."

Alexander-Arnold missed Saturday's ninth consecutive top-flight win over Palace due to illness, while Thiago Alcantara started but was withdrawn as a second-half substitute due to a calf injury.

As the Reds travel to Norwich, who are winless in their last 15 against Klopp's side, Ljinders confirmed the pair would be absent and also commented on Harvey Elliott, who suffered a serious ankle injury in the win over Leeds United on September 12.

"He [Trent Alexander-Arnold] wanted to play but we took the decision to leave him out," Ljinders continued.

"He's still not feeling 100 per cent. He will not be in the squad for tomorrow but hopefully will be ready for the weekend.

"We try to support him [Elliot] as much as we can. Our group is a proper family. Naby [Keita] had tears in his eyes by the side of the pitch when it happened. In a good moment [of form] we lost one of our best midfielders."

Per Opta, of the 742 defenders to play at least 20 games in Europe's top-five leagues since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, only Bruno Alves at Parma (81 per cent) posted a better aerial duel success rate than Konate (78 per cent).

His tackle success rate of 66.67 per cent sits right in line with those Klopp called upon at centre-back in a see-saw season, level with Gomez – such a key component of the title-winning team from 2019-20 – and well ahead of Ozan Kabak, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Liverpool but is now at Norwich.

Jurgen Klopp was hopeful Thiago Alcantara's calf injury would prove not too serious after Liverpool beat Crystal Palace in "one of the most hard-fought three-nils ever".

The Reds went top of the Premier League, three points ahead of Manchester City and Manchester United, who play West Ham on Sunday, by seeing off a spirited Palace side who twice had chances in the opening three minutes at Anfield.

Liverpool shrugged off an unconvincing start to claim an ultimately comfortable win thanks to goals from Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita.

Mane's goal saw him net his 100th for Liverpool, but the victory was somewhat marred by Thiago limping off just after the hour mark.

Klopp said of the former Bayern Munich man: "He felt the calf. So far I don't know exactly but we hope it is not too serious."

Liverpool are now 15 games unbeaten and looking in ominous form as they try to regain the Premier League title, having seen City scoop the trophy last term.

But Klopp accepted they were not at their best in defeating Patrick Vieira's side.

"It is one of the most hard-fought three-nils I ever saw. We had to give everything. Really hard but fair challenges. Physicality in the game was immense and we had to be ready in each situation," Klopp said on Sky Sports.

"The chips in behind our full-backs gave us a struggle. The longer the game went, they used that more and more.

"We had to run. We've said it plenty of times, the Wednesday/Saturday rhythm is really hard. We came through, we scored wonderful goals and used our set-pieces. It is really massive in games like this. If it would have been 1-0 I would have said these are the games you have to win, when you are not brilliant. That's what we did today.

"We were not flying today. We had to grind out a proper performance. I really liked it. When you look back at the end of the season you have these games when it was really fun. And some when it was really important. This is one of those important games."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Thiago Alcantara is "like a world-class golfer", while insisting there is much more to come from the Spaniard at Anfield.

Thiago joined Liverpool from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich amid plenty of fanfare ahead of the 2020-21 campaign but the Spain international experienced a mixed start to life on Merseyside, where injuries hampered his maiden season.

The 30-year-old midfielder has featured in three of Liverpool's opening four Premier League matches, starting once, while he came off the bench in Wednesday's Champions League victory over Milan.

A year on from his arrival, Klopp hailed Thiago ahead of Saturday's clash with Crystal Palace.

"The start was not perfect," Klopp told reporters during his pre-game news conference. "He got Covid, got injured early which of course makes things much more difficult. But he showed what kind of player he will be for us. There is much more to come of course.

"It has been a year, but if you want it is only half a year because of all the things which happened. Coming to a new club, in the most difficult period in all our lives, he settled really well. His family is here, he loves it here, he was in the middle of the team very quickly. He's a really good character, really good personality and obviously a world-class player. It is all fine!"

Klopp added: "He played more often at Munich in a double-six role, but for us it's a complex position; you have to be offensive, you have to be defensive, you have to be between the lines, you can drop into the last line to receive the ball, but not always. 

"But he is such a natural footballer it is not like we have to give him 15 or 16 different things to do in the game. I don't ask him for constant runs beyond the last line. He is a playmaker, obviously, who can sometimes be a little deeper, but he must be there in the two ‘interesting’ lines of the opponent as well.

"He has great vision and can change things with his passing. In a closed area with his passing he is really good, and he can chip balls into each area like a golfer, actually. A good golfer. A world class golfer! He does that without even thinking. 

"I love the way he plays. It's a complex position to be the number eight for us. We have different skill sets and we use different skill sets from time to time when we think a particular skill set makes more sense against a particular opponent."

Liverpool are on the longest current league unbeaten run in the top four tiers of English football, going 14 league games without defeat since a 1-0 home loss against Fulham in March (W11 D3).

Klopp's Liverpool have had more shots than any other Premier League side this season (100). Their 30 attempts against Leeds United last time out brought up their 100, making them just the second side since 2003-04 to have 100-plus shots in their first four games of a season, after Chelsea in 2009-10 (109).

Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara has been left out of Spain's squad for their triple-header of September fixtures.

Thiago made four substitute appearances for Spain in their run to the semi-finals of the European Championship finals, but the 30-year-old – who has just nine minutes of Premier League action under his belt this term – has been overlooked for selection.

Pedri is another notable absentee from Luis Enrique's 24-man squad, though that was expected as the Barcelona midfielder has been given a rest following his participation at Euro 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics.

Dani Olmo, Mikel Oyarzabal and Pau Torres, three other members of Spain's Olympic contingent, will also be given a breather over the first international break of the season.

Fabian Ruiz and Diego Llorente, of Napoli and Leeds United respectively, are the others to have dropped out of Spain's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Sweden, Georgia and Kosovo over the next fortnight.

Like at Euro 2020, Luis Enrique has decided against calling up any Real Madrid players, meaning no place in the squad for Dani Carvajal, Marco Asensio and Nacho Fernandez.

Abel Ruiz, Brais Mendez, Pablo Fornals, Mikel Merino and Carlos Soler have all been called up, while Inigo Martinez and Raul Albiol are also included.

La Roja have won two and drawn one of their first three qualifiers and lead the way at the top of Group B ahead of their upcoming trio of matches.

 

Spain squad in full:

David de Gea, Robert Sanchez; Unai Simon; Aymeric Laporte, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Inigo Martinez, Jordi Alba, Jose Gaya, Raul Albiol; Brais Mendez, Carlos Soler, Koke, Marcos Llorente, Mikel Merino, Pablo Sarabia, Rodri, Sergio Busquets; Abel Ruiz, Adama Traore, Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, Gerard Moreno, Pablo Fornals

Curtis Jones has been ruled out of Liverpool's opening Premier League game of the season at Norwich City through concussion.

The 20-year-old has featured in three of Liverpool's four pre-season friendlies and was pushing for inclusion for Saturday's trip to Carrow Road.

However, Jones was replaced during the first half of Monday's 3-1 win over Osasuna following a collision and will not be available this weekend as per concussion protocols.

"He had a slight concussion so we just have to follow the protocol," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told the club's official website.

"He is fine, he feels fine again, but that’s the protocol. He is available for training from Sunday on I think."

Liverpool will also be without influential left-back Andy Robertson for their meeting with Norwich, one which Jones would have been in contention to start.

The academy product made 24 appearances in the Premier League for the Reds last term, averaging 68.07 successful passes per 90 minutes, sitting him behind only Thiago Alcantara (74.64) and Jordan Henderson (83.51) among Liverpool midfielders.

Thiago and Henderson both made substitute appearances against Osasuna after returning to Liverpool following Euro 2020 duty - and both are in contention to play a part against Norwich.

Asked if there are any other fitness doubts besides Robertson and Jones, Klopp said: "No, not from an injury point of view.

"But yeah, a few players had a shorter pre-season than others. All the others are healthy."

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League matches against Norwich ahead of this latest meeting, scoring 44 goals across that period at an average of 3.1 per game.

Thiago Alcantara will miss Liverpool's friendly games with Bologna on Thursday although manager Jurgen Klopp insists the midfielder's injury is not serious.

The Spain international joined up with the Reds' pre-season training camp in Evian last week after helping his country to the semi-finals of Euro 2020.

Klopp explained the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona playmaker arrived with a pre-existing complaint and he is not willing to take undue risks with the start of the Premier League season just nine days away.

 "Thiago came here with a slight issue. He has three weeks off and the slight issue is still [there], which he was feeling," Klopp told his club's official website.

"We don't take any risks. He's part of parts of training and in these little things he looks great, but it's more the longer distances where he struggles slightly.

"We have to make sure that will be sorted and we are on it. I think he will be in next week, [at the] latest, in full training."

Liverpool will play back-to-back 60-minute friendlies against their Serie A opponents as they step up preparations for an opening weekend trip to newly promoted Norwich City in the English top flight.

Brazil trio Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino are back with the squad and are likely to feature for 30 minutes apiece.

"They will have game time. We have to use the games now. We will see. We play twice 60 minutes, between the two games is an hour break, so we can give them 30 minutes to play," Klopp explained.

"Ali maybe slightly longer but 30 is probably enough for the first few minutes standing in the goal again in a competitive game. 

"So it's really good that we can do that and everybody gets minutes. Most of the players will now play 60 minutes obviously but the ones who came back later probably max 30. But it's cool."

Thiago Alcantara says a Spain squad mixing youth and experience are desperate for Euro 2020 to begin after disrupted preparations for the tournament.

Luis Enrique's side get their campaign underway on Monday when they take on Sweden at La Cartuja in Seville.

Their planning for finals was thrown into disarray when Sergio Busquets tested positive for coronavirus last week, which forced the senior squad into isolation amid fears of an outbreak.

Diego Llorente returned test results later confirmed to be a false positive, while the Under-21 squad were used for the friendly match with Lithuania on Tuesday.

The senior players are due to be given COVID-19 vaccination jabs on Friday and no further positive cases have been identified, meaning Luis Enrique should have a strong group available for selection against Sweden.

Liverpool midfielder Thiago accepts the build-up has been far from ideal but is now eager to get the tournament underway.

He told Marca: "Football has changed. Beyond talent, it will be the teams who are best prepared who will compete. We're talking about the best players in Europe at the best tournament.

"We've gotten used to playing under pressure. We're a very young team but used to that level of competition. The youngsters give us veterans a hunger to compete.

"There's another very important thing: we're very invested in what the coach asks of us. That comes from a long time ago, not from now. We're a hard-working team and we're hungry.

"I know [Luis Enrique] from the Barca youth system. He has very clear ideas. He loves the pressure after losing, possession... and winning, which is what we all want.

"The good thing about Luis is that he is always the same. He's no different depending on who he talks to."

Thiago insisted the Spain players coped well with the news of Busquets and that they are far more used to such situations than in the early stages of the pandemic.

"We're used to this situation. It's been a year and a half of living with COVID. We've been accustomed to training individually or collectively, but always with the objective of competing," he said.

"Fear was experienced in the first stage of the pandemic. It was an uncertainty on a global level. We didn't know what was going to happen.

"I was in Germany with my family and yes, there was that feeling of fear. Not here. We have great professionals around us and we comply with all the protocols they ask us to follow."

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