Joel Matip hasn’t gone to the African Cup of Nations with Cameroon, but he’s still not able to play for us right now, despite returning from his injury…
The centre-back has been withdrawn from today’s squad to face Manchester United, because Liverpool want clarity from FIFA regarding his availability.
Cameroon have not communicated that Matip can play for Liverpool during the AFCON, which confuses us – as he wasn’t selected in the squad anyway…
Here’s the statement in full, courtesy of the official website:
Liverpool Football Club can confirm Joel Matip has been withdrawn from selection for today’s Premier League fixture at Manchester United as the club continues to seek clarity from FIFA as to the player’s eligibility.
Matip, who was not included in Cameroon’s final squad for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, has previously communicated his withdrawal from consideration for international selection, with his last appearance for Cameroon occurring in September 2015.
The Cameroon Football Federation have failed to confirm that Matip can therefore play club football during the period of the Africa Cup of Nations. Liverpool have subsequently repeatedly sought, as a matter of urgency, clarity from FIFA in this regard. This includes assurances the player was called up for the tournament in accordance with the world governing body’s regulations.
It is Liverpool’s view that the player should be available for club football during the period of the competition and will continue to work for a speedy and unambiguous resolution.
Matip has been easily our best central defender this term, with Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren much more inconsistent, but the 25-year-old has actually missed a number of games with minor injuries.
When he’s available, he’s graceful and composed and could well be a regular for many a season.
For now though, the club need to sort out the situation regarding his availability and then get him fully fit.
We’re a far better side when Matip is marshalling the backline and Klopp knows that.