Joel Matip vs. Tranmere Rovers. Credit: Propaganda

Joel Matip to miss Chelsea clash as Liverpool nurture ankle injury

Liverpool centre-back Joel Matip will sit out of Wednesday night’s International Champions Cup tie against Chelsea as a precaution.

The Cameroon international suffered ankle bruising during the Reds’ 2-0 friendly win over Wigan Athletic nine days ago.

With Matip having suffered a serious injury to the same area in the past, undergoing surgery over the summer to remove a screw in his ankle, Liverpool are taking care with his recovery.

This has seen Matip sit out of intense sessions at the Reds’ Stanford University training camp, with Jurgen Klopp wary of exacerbating the issue.

As a result, Matip won’t be available for Liverpool’s ICC opener against the Blues at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

This leaves Klopp with only three centre-back options in Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Andre Wisdom, with Lucas Leiva, Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho also out.

Lucas and Gomez are with the squad in California but are injured, while Sakho was controversially sent home on Monday night following Klopp’s concerns over his attitude.

Matip is poised to take up a regular role in Klopp’s back line in 2016/17, having joined on a free transfer from Schalke this summer.

If Sakho is sold as a result of his lack of diligence, Matip could find himself partnered regularly by Lovren.

The duo showed strong signs of chemistry in their first games together during pre-season, and could form a formidable unit at the back.

SAN FRANCISCO, USA - Thursday, July 21, 2016: Liverpool's new signing Ragnar Klavan waits as the team takes a cruise to Alcatraz Island from Pier 33 to visit the prison on day one of the club's USA Pre-season Tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klavan is likely to start alongside Lovren on Wednesday night, however, handing the Estonia international his first appearance for his new club.

The 30-year-old signed in a deal worth £4.2 million just before Liverpool flew out to the US, signing a three-year contract after four seasons in the Bundesliga with Augsburg.

Though previously considered a fourth-choice option for Klopp, Klavan’s opportunities could increase following Sakho’s sanction.

Klopp will also be without Brad Smith on Wednesday night, with the Australian left-back due to complete a £6 million move to Bournemouth on Tuesday.

It remains to be seen whether Christian Benteke features, too, with the Belgian striker’s future still under question.

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