Liverpool have been forced to leave Joel Matip out of their matchday squad for Sunday’s clash with Man United, following concerns over his eligibility.
Matip has returned to fitness following an ankle injury, and trained with Jurgen Klopp‘s first-team squad on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
While he was not expected to start at Old Trafford, Matip has not been included in the Liverpool squad, following his withdrawal from selection for Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations.
In a statement released ahead of Sunday’s game, the club confirmed that they had sought to “seek clarity from FIFA as to the player’s eligibility.”
It’s reported that Liverpool – and West Brom who are in a similar situation over Allan Nyom – have sought a response from FIFA for two weeks but not received one.
Full Statement from LFC:
Liverpool Football Club can confirm Joel Matip has been withdrawn from selection for today’s Premier League fixture at Manchester United as the club continues to seek clarity from FIFA ?as to the player’s eligibility.
Matip, who was not included in Cameroon’s final squad for the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, has previously communicated his withdrawal from consideration for international selection, with his last appearance for Cameroon occurring in September 2015.
The Cameroon Football Federation have failed to confirm that Matip can therefore play club football during the period of the Africa Cup of Nations. Liverpool have subsequently repeatedly sought, as a matter of urgency, clarity from FIFA in this regard. This includes assurances the player was called up for the tournament in accordance with the world governing body’s regulations.
It is Liverpool’s view that the player should be available for club football during the period of the competition and will continue to work for a speedy and unambiguous resolution.
In Matip’s absence, Dejan Lovren and Raganar Klavan continue in defence at Old Trafford – where there’s a first league start for teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold due to injury to Nathaniel Clyne.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Firmino, Lallana, Origi
Substitutes: Karius, Gomez, Moreno, Stewart, Ejaria, Coutinho, Sturridge