With their season opener at Arsenal just under a month away, Liverpool were already staring down a defensive crisis and it looked like things went from bad to worse when Joel Matip limped off in the closing stages of their 2-0 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium yesterday, but Reds boss Jurgen Klopp doesn’t believe his ankle problem is anything to worry about.
“It’s the foot he had problems with in the past and then he had a little bit of pain when pre-season started because of the intensity. He’s used to it,” said the German manager, speaking to the press following the match. “Hopefully it is like this because everyone can see he’s in a real good way,” he continued. “I think tomorrow he’ll rest, then he can go again.”
Having sold Martin Skrtel to Fenerbahce and released Kolo Toure, the Anfield outfit were already a tad short on central defenders, but injuries to Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho left them with only two recognized first team players — that is, until Matip limped off. Tiago Ilori, who looked solid beside the former Schalke 04 man against the Latics, is set to meet up with Portugal for the Olympics and, at this time, leave only Dejan Lovren fit for action. Both Andre Wisdom and Lucas can deputize in the middle if need be, but with the future of neither assured, the sooner we know that Matip is fit, the better.
“It’s not too serious, hopefully. We had to make the decision of Joel or Dejan, who has to play the whole 90 minutes?” added Klopp, keen to assure the fans that the situation isn’t quite as bad as it might sound. “We decided on Joel. For him it was a little bit too much today, but he is in a good way, as you can see.”