Liverpool are hoping to have center-back Joel Matip fit and available for selection ahead of their top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United on January 17, as they ramp up their recovery from injury.
The 29-year-old suffered from adductor strain in the 1-1 draw against West Bromwich Albion on December 27 and had to be substituted on time.
His absence was felt in recent matches, with Jurgen Klopp opting to play Fabinho and Jordan Henderson on defense, subsequently weakening his midfielder in a 0-0 draw against Newcastle United and loss 1-0 against Southampton.
But Liverpool are hoping to receive a major boost in the form of a return from injury Matip to face Man Utd, as The Athletic reports he is on schedule to recover and integrate into Klopp’s backline .
Jurgen Klopp had discussed the length of the defender’s absence after his draw with Newcastle, explaining: “The normal thing with those kind of injuries, [he will be out for] about three weeks. “
That amount of time would put him back in the running to start against Man Utd, and all signs point to the former Cameroon international offering a helping hand at the heart of their weakened backline.
Long-term knee injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez left Klopp’s center-back options completely wiped out and he had to adjust his selections accordingly. The German has clearly decided not to throw youngsters like Rhys Williams or Nathaniel Phillips into the mix against Southampton, instead teaming up with Henderson alongside Fabinho.
The Reds lost the game 1-0, but Klopp will have been more concerned with the lost battle in midfield, and he will be aware of the dangers Man Utd’s center-stars can pose to the current champions. The Red Devils could hypothetically open a six-point gap over Liverpool with a win, if they beat Burnley on Tuesday night.