Liverpool have been dealt a major blow with news that centre-back Joel Matip is to join Joe Gomez on the sidelines for the next six weeks.
Matip went straight to hospital after the Reds’ 1-0 win over Napoli on Tuesday night to have scans on a shoulder injury he picked up late in the game.
Initially it was reported to be merely a precaution and speaking post-match Jurgen Klopp said he was unaware of any issue for the defender.
However, it has now been confirmed that he requires an operation for a fractured collarbone and is therefore expected to be sidelined for “up to six weeks” – depending on how his recovery goes.
It’s a major blow given the timing of the season and with Gomez already out for a similar timeframe.
It means Klopp now has only Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk as his centre-back options for the whole of the Christmas fixtures.
Games Matip is set to miss:
- Man United (H)
- Wolves (A)
- Newcastle (H)
- Arsenal (H)
- Man City (A)
- Wolves (A, FA Cup)
- Brighton (A)
- Crystal Palace (H)
- FA Cup Fourth Round
It’s a bitter blow for the player as an individual, who has had to be patient for his chance this season but performed well in these three consecutive appearances.
Klopp could be facing somewhat of a defensive injury crisis for Sunday’s home game against Man United, with Trent Alexander-Arnold also picking an injury in the latter stages against Napoli and James Milner suffering with cramp.
It’s hoped that Milner is fit enough to start at right-back, while Lovren will have to come into the side alongside Van Dijk in the centre.
Beyond that, Klopp’s options are extremely limited. Nathaniel Clyne hasn’t started a league game since May and only recently returned to training again.
Young centre-back Nathaniel Phillips, who featured in pre-season, has also recently returned to training and could well find himself in the first-team mix this winter.