Jurgen Klopp awaits another potentially draining defensive dilemma as Liverpool anxiously wait on Joel Matip’s latest injury setback.
Matip, 29, lasted just an hour during Liverpool’s dour 1-1 draw with West Brom at Anfield on Sunday before coming off with a groin problem.
According to Goal, Liverpool hope to obtain a full diagnostic on Monday, but the fear is that Matip will face a number of weeks on the sidelines, leaving Klopp totally depleted of all three of his senior central defensive options.
“Joel told me he felt something in his adductor and that’s obviously not too good,” Klopp said in his post-match comments, as per Goal.
“I am not sure how serious it is now, but it was serious enough that he had to leave the pitch. The rest of the information I will get tomorrow [Monday].”
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Matip had only returned to action against Crystal Palace the previous weekend having missed the Tottenham victory with a back problem. He has started just six of Liverpool’s 15 PL matches this season.
The former Schalke defender is still yet to clock up 30 league appearances in a single season and managed just 13 games in all competitions last term.
What are Klopp’s other options?
With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both likely to miss the rest of the season with separate knee injuries, Klopp has been forced to gamble on Matip’s fitness alongside Fabinho, who has stepped up immeasurably during his transition from midfield to defence.
In Fabinho and Matip’s absence, Liverpool are left with just Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips as potential alternatives in the heart of the defence. Both players have collectively clocked up just four league appearances this season.
Liverpool could look to the upcoming January transfer window for potential reinforcements, although a report from Goal indicates the club have no immediate plans to do so.
The Reds have a self-sustaining transfer model that prohibits them from making knee-jerk reaction purchases.
This could indeed change if the need and availability match-up, but it seems that the boss is intent on finding internal solutions as opposed to short-term purchases.
There was even more bad news from Klopp’s behalf in the aftermath of the West Brom encounter, with Naby Keita missing the match as a result of a muscle injury.
The 25-year-old, like Matip, has been plagued by injuries throughout his Liverpool tenure, and will also miss the trip to Newcastle United on Wednesday.
“He felt a muscle again,” Klopp said. “I don’t know exactly how long [it will be], but he was not ready for today and not for Wednesday, I think. We will see.”