New Matip setback sees Klopp scrambling for Liverpool cover

Date published: Tuesday 20th October 2020 2:26 - Matthew Briggs

Joel Matip

Jurgen Klopp’s decision not to replace Dejan Lovren is looking like a costly mistake after Joel Matip missed training on Tuesday.

Liverpool are heading to Amsterdam for Wednesday’s Champions League opener against Ajax and they will be missing key players.

Klopp’s defensive options have been stretched further after Matip did not train at Melwood and is unlikely to travel to Amsterdam.

The Reds are already without senior centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, out for several months with an anterior cruciate ligament injury which requires surgery, and losing Matip – who was spotted coming out of a Liverpool hospital at the weekend – is a further blow.

The Times‘ Paul Joyce and the Liverpool Echo said the centre-back raised an issue with a muscle injury after Saturday’s Merseyside derby.

As such, club doctors sent him for a scan the same day, which – luckily – picked up no ‘major’ issue.

However, he missed training on Tuesday and considering his poor injury record, alarm bells will be ringing

Matip has suffered seven injuries since his move from Schalke.

Indeed his most recent injury – a knee problem last season – kept him out between October and January and saw him miss 20 games.

 

 

It means Liverpool are likely to line up with Joe Gomez and midfielder Fabinho in central defence.

The Athletic’s correspondent James Pearce believes Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams will travel as defensive cover for Gomez and Fabinho.

The latest problems with Matip wll reflect badly on Klopp on the club after they failed to sign a replacement for Lovren.

Klopp ‘relaxed’ over Lovren replacement

The Croatian left in £10.9million move to Zenit St Petersburg in July.

The German coach had around 10 weeks to draft in another centre-back, but decided against it.

Pearce claimed Liverpool were “pretty relaxed” over the situation in September and mentioned 17-year-old Billy Koumetio, as a player who had caught Klopp’s eye in pre-season.

Alisson is also missing against Ajax, as too is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who injured a knee in a tackle which saw Everton’s Richarlison sent off in Saturday’s Merseyside derby, also did not train and is unlikely to play.

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