The bizarre saga over Joel Matip‘s potential involvement at the Africa Cup of Nations appears to have ended after the centre-back was not called up by Cameroon.
Despite the player, along with six others, having made clear he did not wish to take part in the tournament, earlier this week the Cameroon manager, Hugo Broos, insisted he was still expecting him to take part.
“These players have put personal interest above those of the national team,” Broos said previously, while threatening action from FIFA.
“And the federation reserves the right to take action against the players in accordance with FIFA regulations.”
But Matip was not named in the Indomptables’ squad on Wednesday, which should also mean he won’t face disciplinary action from FIFA.
“It’s not an easy decision but I want to concentrate on Liverpool. I want to be here,” Matip said last month of his decision not to represent his country this month.
“I want to focus on Liverpool and that’s what I had to decide. I think I took the right decision.”
Matip, who was born in Bochum, Germany and has a Cameroonian father, hasn’t featured for Cameroon since June 2015.
As it happens, Matip has missed the last five games with an ankle injury, although Liverpool hope to have him back in action this month – possibly for the visit to Old Trafford a week on Sunday.
Liverpool’s Sadio Mane has joined up with his nation, Senegal, and could miss up to eight games depending on how well they do at the tournament.
Matip’s return, meanwhile, should be a big boost to Liverpool who face Plymouth, Man United, Southampton (twice in the League Cup semi-final), Swansea City, and Chelsea this month.