Joel Matip vs. Tranmere Rovers. Credit: Propaganda

Joel Matip still struggling as Jurgen Klopp welcomes Daniel Sturridge’s injury return

Jurgen Klopp has provided an injury update ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Stoke City on December 27, with Joel Matip still a doubt.

The centre-back has missed the last two games with an ankle injury similar to that which kept him out against Bournemouth and Everton.

Matip was also unavailable at the start of the season, having undergone surgery in an effort to solve his recurring problems but Klopp says while it’s in a similar area, it’s not the same injury.

“Better and better and better,” Klopp said, when asked about the Cameroonian’s recovery.

“It’s not the same injury but it’s the same region.

“We could have tried to bring him in at Everton, but then it would have been a 95 percent probability that he’s out for the next game.

“So we decided to give him the time he needed to really settle. These problems have been there for a few weeks.

“It’s always been close. We tried everything, but then you have to accept how it is.

“He doesn’t feel it’s possible. If it’s not 100 percent comfortable it makes it really difficult.

“I spoke to him a few minutes ago, he felt positive, but he’s been out a few days’ training, and if we have players already in training, we choose them.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, December 19, 2016: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge in action against Everton during the FA Premier League match, the 227th Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This suggested Klopp is set to stick with Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan as his centre-back pairing against Stoke, though the Reds’ boss has more options to consider in attack.

Daniel Sturridge made his return from a calf injury to set up Sadio Mane‘s winner against Everton on Monday night, with captain Jordan Henderson hailing his countryman on his comeback.

Asked what role Sturridge can play for the rest of the season, Klopp cast a positive glow, but insisted he would remain patient regarding the striker’s fitness.

“[He will play an] important part! But how could he be as fit as the other players?” he continued.

“We know about his qualities. That was never doubted. Now he’s back in training and each session helps him a lot.

“He’s in good shape, but there are intense games, a lot of games, so we have to manage it.

“I’m really happy to have a really outstanding option back for selection.”

Beyond Sturridge, Klopp has Mane, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi as his attacking options, with Philippe Coutinho still recovering from an ankle injury.

The German revealed that the Brazilian was yet to join full training, refusing to confirm whether he could take part against Manchester City on New Year’s Eve.

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