Premier League

Boost for Liverpool as Cameroon defender Joel Matip returns to training

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says Joel Matip has returned to full training but will face a late fitness test to determine if he can start against Burnley.

Matip has been out of action since picking up a groin injury during Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with West Brom at Anfield on December 27.

The 29-year-old missed subsequent Premier League fixtures against Newcastle, Southampton and Manchester United along with the FA Cup third-round tie against Aston Villa, but he could be available for selection again when the Reds play host to Burnley on Thursday.

“Joel is in full training. Now we will have to make a decision, we will see how that will be tomorrow,” said Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“Yesterday he trained completely normal.”

The Liverpool boss was unable to give more good news with regards to Jota’s rehabilitation though, with the £41 million ($56m) summer signing still working his way back from a serious knee issue.

“Diogo is still a few weeks away. He needs time,” said Klopp.

The reigning Premier League champions have suffered an alarming dip in form in recent weeks as Matip’s absence has left Klopp desperately short on options in central defence.

The German head coach was forced to pair Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in the heart of the defence against Southampton and United, with first-choice duo Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez also still missing through respective long-term injuries.

Liverpool lost against the Saints before being held to a 0-0 draw by the Red Devils which extended their recent winless run to four top-flight matches, but Klopp took plenty of positives from their latest outing at Anfield.

“Our situation is not a catastrophe, it’s just not perfect. And I saw a lot of good signs in the Man United game,” he said. “But because we didn’t win, nobody was interested.”

Isaac Darko
Isaac Darko is the lead Combat Sports writer for AfroBallers. He is an expert in Boxing, Mixed Martial Art and Wrestling reportage. Isaac is a journalist with newfound love for athlete management and digital media.

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