Recently fit-again Liverpool star Thiago Alcantara can be the main man against Manchester United on Sunday.

That is according to former Premier League goalscorer Kevin Phillips, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs after Thiago returned to the starting line-up in the defeat 1-0 to Southampton on 4 January.

The £25million summer signing has missed the majority of the season so far with a knee injury sustained against Everton in October, and has been limited to 285 minutes across all competitions.

Those incidents threatened to derail Liverpool’s season, but Jurgen Klopp’s side have ensured they are still in the title race at the halfway point, though defeat on Sunday could see them fall six points behind rivals United.

Phillips thinks Thiago could be the decisive factor in the blockbuster match, with his ability on the ball and kaleidoscopic range of pass able to dismantle any defence.

He told Football Insider: “Thiago can be the difference for Liverpool on Sunday. He was disappointing against Southampton but he has been out for a long while. He showed against Villa’s young lads that he has an amazing eye for a pass.

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“He can unlock any defence. What a range of passing he has. I am sure he will start at the weekend because you expect them to dominate the possession. You want Thiago in your side.

“He can create opportunities because he breaks lines. He fires the ball into the front three so you want him on the ball to thread those passes. To get the best out of him, he just needs to keep playing.

“You want your top players to play in the big games so I would be very surprised if he did not start at the weekend.”

Thiago graduated from Barcelona’s famous La Masia academy in 2008 before spending four years with the Blaugrana as a senior player.

He later joined Bayern Munich where he stayed for seven seasons, winning an astonishing 17 trophies, including the Champions League in 2019-20.

In other news, Klopp is tipped for showdown FSG talks over sealing blockbuster Liverpool January deal.