It doesn’t look like Cameroonian centre-back Joel Matip will be returning to Liverpool’s lineup for the clash against Stoke in four days’ time.
That’s if Jurgen Klopp’s comments in today’s press-conference at Melwood were anything to go by…
The centre-back, by some distance our best in that position, has missed our past two games – though thankfully – Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan have managed to rack up consecutive clean-sheets in his absence.
According to the boss, Matip can’t shake a niggle which is keeping him out of training, and as we know – if players haven’t featured in the manager’s pre-game sessions, they’re very unlikely to be risked.
“It’s the same region. We could have brought him in for the Everton game, but it was 95 percent probability for him to be out of the next game,” Klopp said, reported in the Echo.
“We decided to give him time because he has had this problem for a number of weeks.
“We tried everything. I have spoken to him and he is very positive, but he is out of training and if we have other players then we will choose them.”
We’d be much more worried about Matip being sidelined if Klavan hadn’t come into the side and done such an excellent job. He provides the defence with robust strength and a composed left-foot, which gives the backline balance.
He handled Romelu Lukaku expertly last time out, and he’ll have a similarly physical job to do against the Potters, who’ll likely deploy Jonathan Walters as a centre-forward.
That being said, we really hope Matip is back for the Manchester City clash, as the Sky Blues will have Sergio Aguero returning from suspension.