Joel Matip has yet to train with his teammates ahead of Sunday’s critical meeting between Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Red Devils edged out the Premier League title holders on Tuesday night with a 1-0 win over Burnley. The couple meet at Anfield on Sunday afternoon in what is billed as a potentially defining game for both sides.
Defending champions Liverpool are hoping to tie United’s total of 20 league titles this season, while the Red Devils have not been leading at this point in a Premier League campaign since 2012/13.
Jurgen Klopp will clearly be keen to have as many players available as possible for the derby shock, but Matip remains in doubt with days to go.
As reported by the Mirror, Matip is back to participate in “specially prepared sessions with physios” and “runs on the grass” as he recovers from a kidnapper strain suffered during the 1-1 draw with West Brom on Boxing Day. . however, he has yet to participate in sessions with his Liverpool teammates.
The report claims Klopp “would need” Matip to go through two group training sessions without a problem to consider him available for selection.
Matip has, of course, been Liverpool’s only real senior center-back option for much of this season, after both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered serious knee injuries last year.
Fabinho replaced at the back with aplomb, but Matip’s potential absence creates a selection dilemma for Klopp ahead of arguably his biggest league game of the season so far.
Rhys Williams (19) and Nat Phillips (23) played a total of 390 Premier League minutes between them, while either would be seen as a risk – so inevitable given the circumstances – against a team as well dangerous than United.
Matip aside, the Reds still have Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota ruled out for the game, along with Gomez and Van Dijk, while Naby Keita is another doubt.