Jurgen Klopp has decided that Joel Matip will start Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Fulham tomorrow.
That’s according to The Athletic, who claim that Matip is all set to partner Virgil Van Dijk at the heart of the defence for Liverpool.
The news comes after Ibrahima Konate was confirmed to have suffered a ‘knee injury’ against Strasbourg on Sunday. Konate will reportedly be miss ‘the opening weeks’ of the season, although no further information has been given.
The Athletic claim that Klopp may call on both Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips during Konate’s injury. But it’s Matip who will reportedly get the nod at Craven Cottage.
Matip re-takes his place as first-choice
Even without Konate’s set-back, it had looked likely that Matip would head into the season as Klopp’s first-choice.
The 30-year-old started Saturday’s Community Shield and has consistently been part of the ‘A team’ in pre-season.
That comes as a little bit of a surprise. Konate finished last season incredibly strongly and even got himself called up for the French national team.
It had perhaps been expected that the time was right to start bedding him in as Van Dijk’s full-time partner.
It now looks as though he’ll get the chance to cement himself in the position over the opening weeks of the season. With Konate out, it may also mean that Gomez gets the occasional chance to shine, too.
From the young Frenchman’s point of view though, it’s a nightmare time to pick up a knock. Knee injuries are rarely straightforward, and the lack of timeframe given for his recovery is a concern.
Having fought his way into the French team ahead of the World Cup, this could unfortunately put paid to Konate’s ideas of featuring at the tournament.