Liverpool will rest Matip tonight to avoid retrospective disciplinary action from FIFA regarding the former Schalke centre-back’s spat with Cameroon.
As much as it’s only an FA Cup replay against League Two side Plymouth Argyle, it’s still infuriating that Liverpool are being deprived of their best defender because Cameroon’s Football Federation can’t accept that Matip doesn’t want to play international football for them.
It’s not even a case of Matip doing something wrong. As James Pearce has said, Matip hasn’t played for Cameroon for 18 months and considers himself as being retired. The rules that FIFA maintain dictate that if your country issues you a call-up and you don’t honour it, then you’re liable to being banned for the duration of the call-up, plus five days. That sounds more like conscription than a call to play football in a different colour shirt.
Liverpool have taken the decision to rest Matip for tonight’s FA Cup replay at Home Park and the Cameroonian will continue to train at Melwood until there is clarity regarding his fitness.
According to the Liverpool ECHO, after consulting with lawyers, the staff at Liverpool learned that the club could face a hefty fine and possible expulsion from the FA Cup if they were to play Matip without confirmation from Cameroon or FIFA.
FIFA will deliver their verdict on Friday regarding Matip, who maintains that he is retired from international football. Whether or not the new signing will be available for the club’s EFL Cup semi-final second leg at home against Southampton and Premier League fixture against Chelsea will be clear by the end of the week but he will be unavailable tonight.