In one of the most confusing stories to have emerged during this transfer window, Liverpool face losing Mamadou Sakho for six matches due to the African Cup of Nations- despite the fact the Cameroonian ace is still on Merseyside.
Brace yourselves, this may get confusing. Liverpool were forced to withdraw Joel Matip from their squad to face Manchester United this weekend due to uncertainty in his eligibility, after the defender turned down a call-up to the African Cup of Nations.
The 25-year-old was included in Cameroon’s preliminary squad for the international tournament in Gabon but declined the call-up, instead deciding to stay at Anfield. However, Liverpool are unsure of whether he can feature for the club without incurring a ban.
In a statement, FIFA said:
“We can confirm that Liverpool FC contacted Fifa about the matter. Our services answered by directing the club to the applicable provisions.”
“A player who has been called up by his association for one of its representative teams is, unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe, plus an additional period of five days.”
Well, the situation has left Liverpool at a bit of a crossroads. Jurgen Klopp’s men could wait until five days after Cameroon are eliminated from the AFCON, which could see Matip miss up to six matches- which includes the FA Cup fourth-round, should Liverpool progress.
That situation would only occur if Cameroon were to reach the final of the international tournament but Klopp’s side could opt for the second option- which could result in a suspension, if FIFA deem it worthy.
The Telegraph reports Klopp will recall Matip for the FA Cup third-round replay with Plymouth, which would result in a FIFA investigation and a suspension, if world football’s governing body deem it worthy.