Joel Matip has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering an ankle ligament injury last week.
Matip’s injury was no doubt what prompted Liverpool to make a deadline day double swoop for two centre-backs, with Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies arriving on Monday.
Revealing the Matip injury news 20 minutes after Kabak’s signing on an initial loan deal shows how Liverpool guarded against revealing the extent of the Cameroonian’s injury until their business was done.
The Reds were claimed by some to even be attempting to sign a third centre-back on deadline day, again showing the extent of their need with Matip, Van Dijk and Gomez all out, plus Fabinho also sidelined for the next two league games.
Matip has completed consecutive 90 minutes in the league just once this season, and that was when the games were a fortnight apart due to an international break.
Jurgen Klopp has already used 16 different centre-back pairings this season and that number will rise further once Davies and Kabak are settled.
“Unfortunately, we found out now after everybody looked at it that Joel will be out for the rest of the season,” said the boss.
“But he will be ready for the start of the next pre-season and finally everything will be sorted.”
Explaining further, Klopp said that Matip had been playing with an injury and that has eventually forced the longer-term issue:
“The situation is just, the season started and Joel was injured when the season started, unfortunately. We should not forget that at Schalke when he was there he played pretty much all the time completely through, he never had something.
“Then he was unlucky with a Koulibaly challenge against Napoli in the last second, in the Everton game kind of things, a little bit with the foot here and there. If something started and then the situation is like our situation – that nobody can really wait because of our situation with Virgil out and Joe out – we always had to try to find the first moment when he is able to play again.
“It was really unlucky because it was a brilliant challenge he made actually, he saved our life in that moment in the Tottenham game when he won the challenge against Son.
“But he injured his ankle and played the game on and now is out for the season, so you can imagine how much he tried to stay on the pitch and tried to help us.
“We will wait for him. He has now the rest of this season, then the summer, then the pre-season to get ready again and he will be ready again.”