Although there’s been whispers over the past couple of days that Liverpool defender Joel Matip may be reconsidering his decision not to represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon this January, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp put those rumours to bed by confirming the influential 25-year old will remain on Merseyside this winter.
“We actually had this talk a few weeks ago already, so I was not surprised [by the news],” said the German manager. “Of course, I am happy about this, there is no doubt, but the players make these decisions by themselves – there is nothing the club can do,” added Klopp. “For Joel it is different because he has grown up in Germany and all that stuff, so that’s different – that’s always different and there are a few players like this – and so he decided this for himself and that is good for us.”
Having missed the surprise 4-3 defeat at the hands of AFC Bournemouth last weekend, Matip’s importance to the side was highlighted even further as Liverpool conceded four second half goals as the Cherries claimed their first win ever over the Reds. With their need to sign another high class defender already at the forefront, Klopp admitted that the former Schalke 04 man has a big part to play for the club, but cautioned against the narrative that the defence will fall apart without him.
“We had a few similar problems in other matches which the opponent didn’t use, so we were already aware of it, but this game helped us a lot to really understand what the problem is with our protection sometimes. That’s all,” mused the manager. “Joel is a wonderful player but Luc, Dejan, Ragnar and Joe Gomez in the future again, they are really good football players and they will do a wonderful job for Liverpool – and they have done already,” added Klopp. “If you want to judge finally these players then do it, I won’t do this.”