Report: Joel Matip absence explained as defender misses another session

Joel Matip remains a huge doubt for Liverpool ahead of Sunday’s encounter with Manchester United at Anfield, according to reports. The 29-year-old hasn’t featured for the English champions since December 17.

This comes from The ECHO. They believe that Matip is a major uncertainty for the weekend after the Cameroonian defender was absent from Wednesday’s training session in Kirkby.

Matip suffered an adductor injury during the 1-1 stalemate with West Brom last month, and has missed Liverpool’s previous three matches, as a result.

The former Schalke star wasn’t among Jurgen Klopp’s first-team at Liverpool’s AXA Training Centre as the Reds ramped up preparations for a gargantuan top-of-the-table encounter on January 17.

According to The ECHO, Matip has suffered a setback in his rehabilitation and has been forced to work on an individually-tailored fitness programme alone, instead.

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With the encounter against United just days away, Matip is running out of time to be ready in what is undoubtedly Liverpool’s biggest match of the season so far.

The report adds that Klopp typically likes to ensure his returning players are able to complete at least two full sessions before they are deemed fit enough for selection.

With just three sessions remaining ahead of Sunday’s gargantuan bout under the Anfield lights, Matip’s selection at this present moment remains doubtful.

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What RTK has to say – Matip too great a miss

Considering Liverpool trail United by three points in the league standings, this is a match the Reds simply cannot afford to lose. As a result, unsurprisingly, there is added pressure on Matip to get fit ahead of Sunday’s mouth-watering fixture.

Liverpool can’t afford to go into the match against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s well-drilled counter-attacking enterprise without a senior naturally-suited centre-back at the defensive helm.

Indeed, Rhys Williams was utilised in a big match against Tottenham Hotspur last month, but repeating that specific trick against United in such a high-stakes game is a risk best avoided.

The ECHO says that Matip has to complete two full sessions to prove his fitness ahead of United.

It’s vital, then, that he is at least involved when the players return to training on Thursday afternoon. If he is absent, it effectively rules out his involvement on Sunday altogether.

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