One would have thought Joel Matip had only decided against playing for Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations a week before the tournament got underway given the way this case has been dealt with.
The man has not played for his country since 2015, yet we are faced with this chaos surrounding his ability to play for Liverpool after he, as expected to, confirmed he would not be competing in Gabon.
It appears that any decision to play him at the moment also comes with the risk of potentially losing points, being fined or the player himself being banned- none of which we believe will happen anyway.
Jurgen Klopp spent a lot of time discussing Matip’s situation during today’s pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s FA Cup third round replay against Plymouth.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “In this moment, we are sure – not we only think, we are sure – we did nothing wrong. We are sure Joel Matip did nothing wrong. He didn’t play for Cameroon since 2015, [which] means since he [has been] here, he was not a Cameroon national player. He’s not in the squad of Cameroon in this moment, so he could not play for Cameroon, for sure, because he’s not in the squad.”
“But in this moment, we have no 100 per cent guarantee that he could play for us. That’s the situation.”
“The procedure is that I would consider to line him up tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can, that’s the thing.”
“At the end, if the result is what we think it will be – even if they open a case – and everything is OK with Joel, then he didn’t play eight games, or let me say four because he was injured before, without doing anything wrong.”
Four games in which we have needlessly gone without our starting centre-back.
Playing him is perhaps a risk worth taking at this stage of the season with a busy schedule ahead and a number of key games in the Premier League approaching.
We need this sorting and we need Matip back as soon as possible.