The Reds are currently without a senior centre-back and started the last match, the defeat to Southampton, with two midfielders at the heart of the back line.
With Man United coming up next at the weekend and the need for three points imperative to regain top spot, the expectation is that Jordan Henderson will revert to midfield – which leaves another gap at the back.
Fabinho will start of course, but alongside him would be Matip if he recovered in time from the injury suffered against West Brom, which the club initially expected to keep him out for around three weeks.
Last week, however, fans were given hope that the big Cameroonian could make a quicker-than-expected recovery – only for that optimism to appear misplaced.
That’s according to the Mirror‘s David Maddock, who says our No. 32 has “yet to train with the first-team squad” despite returning to on-grass running and ball work.
If Matip doesn’t get a couple of sessions in with the team before the match, he’s unlikely to be considered for selection – which potentially means he must join in with the rest of the squad by Thursday or Friday’s session.
Klopp’s decision may be slightly eased by the fact that the speedy Anthony Martial, who would be most likely to start as the No. 9 for Solskjaer, seemed to injure his hamstring in the closing minutes on Tuesday night, which would leave the less-mobile Edinson Cavani starting up front again instead.
There’s still plenty of pace from wide and deeper areas to contend with, but the direct rival for Phillips or Williams being a powerful aerial threat is arguably a better contest, even if that is a player who has been an elite performer.
Maddock further clarifies that “it is understood [Matip] has progressed to training in specially-prepared sessions with the physios”, and suggests risks won’t be taken given the game load ahead after the United match.
We’ll need Matip for as many of those as possible if no centre-back is signed this month, as now seems most frequently reported in the media.