Liverpool look to have been handed a potentially huge injury boost, as Joel Matip has returned to training this week ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester United.
The Athletic journalist James Pearce confirmed earlier this week that the Cameroonian defender will take part in two training sessions ahead of the game against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, leaving Jurgen Klopp a ‘big decision’ to make.
The former Schalke man has been sidelined since picking up an injury in the 1-1 draw with West Brom recently and the Reds have failed to win a game in the Premier League without him since then, drawing 0-0 with Newcastle before losing 1-0 to Southampton, which has led to Klopp’s side dropping off the top of the Premier League table.
Considering the gravity of the game against United, the German manager may well be tempted to throw Matip straight back in at Anfield on Sunday but doing so could risk a further injury to the centre-back, which is the last thing Liverpool need at the moment.
Solskjaer suggested earlier this week that this could be the best time to play Liverpool, due to their injury concerns and the lack of a crowd at Anfield but he will surely be much less confident if Matip is fit enough to play against the Red Devils, as when the Cameroonian has played in the Premier League this season, the Reds have not lost.
Klopp’s side also boast an unbelievable record at Anfield, with their last league loss there coming in April 2017, so there’s no doubt that, despite the Reds injury problems and recent form, it won’t be an easy game for United on Sunday.
Solskjaer will perhaps have planned for his attackers to test themselves against the inexperienced Rhys Williams or Nathaniel Phillips, so if Matip does end up starting, he will perhaps worry that the Liverpool defence will be a lot harder to break down, as the Reds have managed four clean sheets in the nine games that the 29-year-old has started this season.
It will be interesting to see if Klopp risks Matip for what is undoubtedly going to be one of the biggest games of the season for both sides.
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