By Noel Whelan

11th Jan, 2022 | 4:00pm

Pundit issues 'huge' Liverpool verdict after Thiago news confirmed

Liverpool will be handed a “huge boost” if Thiago can make a “timely return”, according to Noel Whelan.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 30-year-old’s “bags of experience” will be important in the absence of players like Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane this month.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was forced to deny rumours suggesting Thiago would be out for the rest of the season with a hip injury in the aftermath of the 4-1 win over Shrewsbury in the FA Cup on Sunday (9 January).

As quoted by Sky Sports, Klopp insisted the midfielder “needs time” but will return to “rehab” from Monday.

Whelan claimed it will be “massive” for the Merseysiders to have a “wily old fox” like Thiago back in the side soon.

“That’s a huge boost,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.

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“They’ve obviously got injury problems at the moment, players out at the African Cup of Nations, and COVID around the camp.

“It’s in those sorts of times where you perhaps turn to a player like Thiago with his bags of experience.

“A quick return would certainly be a timely return from Liverpool’s perspective. Players like him are the ones with the voices in the dressing room and out on the pitch.

“They’ll need to dig deep to win games without players like Mane and Salah, and if he can come back then it’ll be massive to have a wily old fox like him available.”

Thiago has made 44 appearances for Liverpool since joining in 2020, scoring three goals.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich midfielder is contracted at Anfield until 2024.

In other news, there has been a significant update on a Liverpool defender leaving the club this month.