Steve Nicol has claimed one Liverpool ace in particular must now ‘step up’ and fill the void left by Joel Matip’s injury.
The latter ruptured his ACL during last weekend’s 4-3 defeat of Fulham at Anfield and is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Ibou Konate deputised for the Cameroonian at Sheffield United on Wednesday and our No. 5 is now set for an extended run in the side.
“When I heard that [Matip’s injury], I was thinking, okay, so Konate’s going to have to play regularly now, which I find strange that he hasn’t been,” Nicol told ESPN.
“Maybe there’s something Klopp is not particularly keen on, but when it came down to it he always seemed to prefer Matip over Konate.
“Hey, personally I couldn’t figure it out, but I’m not going to argue with Klopp. But now Konate’s going to have to step up and do the job that Matip’s been doing. For a guy of his age he’s [Konate] done a good job over the past 12 months, certainly.”
It’s a huge blow to lose the services of Matip for what could be the remainder of the season.
The 32-year-old is out of contract in the summer so it remains to be seen whether the ex-Schalke man has already played his final game for the club.
Jurgen Klopp has often rotated Konate and Matip alongside Virgil van Dijk at centre half but it did appear that the latter was his preferred option this term.
The France international, who Klopp has previously labelled as ‘incredibly talented’ (via Metro), is a superb player, however, but the concern is whether he can remain fit between now and the end of the season with us seeking to compete on all four fronts.
You’d suspect that a new central defender will be on the radar during the January transfer window but we’ll just have to wait and see.