The situation surrounding Joel Matip’s decision not to play for Cameroon at the African Cup of Nations is rumbling on a bit now.
He has made it pretty clear over the past few months that he was always intent on staying in Liverpool during the time of the competition. The fact he hasn’t played for his country since 2015 makes it even more frustrating that an investigation is needed in the first place.
We need this squad to be as strong as possible over the next month or so as an already busy period gets even more hectic at a crucial point in the season.
With this in mind, Liverpool are reportedly set to overlook the possibility of a ban or fine for Matip by taking a risk and playing the defender with the belief that his case will eventually be accepted anyway.
The Liverpool Echo’s James Pearce reported: “Liverpool are ready to defy FIFA and play Joel Matip against Plymouth Argyle in Wednesday night’s FA Cup third round replay.”
“After further high level talks involving Klopp and the Reds’ owners, Liverpool believe the evidence in Matip’s favour is so conclusive that putting him back in the team is a risk worth taking.”
“Both Matip and Liverpool are adamant that he has fulfilled all the criteria to avoid being selected and that any investigation would find in their favour.”
The centre-back is seriously short of game time having been out injured since December 11 and missing a number of key games in the process.
Though an away trip to Plymouth doesn’t pose as the ideal fixture for him to return in, it is an opportunity to get him back into competitive football and speed up his progress ahead of key Premier League matches.
FIFA have taken far too long to deal with this. The sooner we get him back, the better.