According to a recent report by The Athletic‘s James Pearce (subscription required), Liverpool centre-back Joel Matip is expected to be sidelined for at least two more weeks which will rule him out of both FIFA Club World Cup matches in Qatar as well as the trip to Leicester City on Boxing Day. The Reds currently hold an eight-point advantage over the Foxes with both sides set to clash heads at the King Power Stadium later this month.
The Merseyside club missed out on the league title by a point last season so they will be desperate to put things right this time around. The European champions are trying to end their 30-year wait for the Premier League title so they cannot afford to lose too many players to injury or suspension, especially not when there is a busy schedule of fixtures coming up over the next few weeks.
Matip’s Stellar Form Before He Got Injured
Matip is currently out of action with a knee injury, but he has earned a lot of praises for his performances early on in the campaign. The Cameroonian defender has managed to win over the Liverpool supporters after he formed a solid partnership with Virgil Van Dijk at the heart of the Liverpool backline. However, in his absence, Dejan Lovren has stepped up and has so far delivered for the Merseyside giants across all competitions.
Matip has featured in ten matches for the Reds this term and has two goals to his name on all fronts. Prior to his injury, the 28-year-old was averaging 1.7 tackles, 1.7 interceptions and 5.3 clearances per game in the English top-flight (stats via whoscored).
What Does The Cameroonian Powerhouse Bring To The Table?
Matip has proven this season that he can be a capable defender at the back. He has built a reputation for making some vital last-ditch clearances. The Liverpool centre-back excels at restricting the opposition’s play when left isolated in a 1v1 situation inside his own half. The 27-time Cameroon international has shown that he can play the ball out from the back without making any mistakes. Furthermore, he is also a threat from set-pieces due to his powerful physical presence so we can expect him to score the odd goal from time to time.
Matip Unlikely To Face Leicester: Huge Blow For Klopp?
Losing Matip for the Leicester match will be a massive blow for the Premier League leaders. As good as Lovren has been in recent weeks, the Croatian defensive ace has shown in the past that he is susceptible to making errors at the back. Joe Gomez’s form has also been a cause for concern this season.
Therefore, Klopp would hope for Matip’s speedy recovery so that he can get involved after the turn of the year and help Liverpool compete across all competitions for the remainder of this campaign.