Liverpool could be down to just one fit centre-back when they travel to the Netherlands for UEFA Champions League 2020-21 Group D match against Ajax on October 22 (Thursday). The Premier League champions lost Virgil van Dijk to a long-term ACL injury in the Merseyside derby against Everton and now reports suggest another centre-back Joel Matip could be troubled with an injury. The Cameroonian made his return from a long-term injury against Everton this weekend and reportedly took a knock which might leave Joe Gomez as the only recognised centre-back in the team. Virgil Van Dijk To Undergo Knee Surgery, Liverpool Defender Vows To Come Back Stronger.
Matip, 29, reportedly underwent a scan and was seen coming out of a hospital a day after the Everton clash. It was later confirmed Matip had gone for a scan to check on a muscle problem and has no issues. But the Cameroonian has been prone to injuries and it remains to be seen in Klopp will risk playing him regularly or call on Fabinho to play as a centre-back alongside Joe Gomez. Liverpool’s Andrew Robertson Expresses Disappointment After Draw Against Everton.
Jurgen Klopp’s side lost Van Dijk to an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury against Everton after a horror tackle from Jordan Pickford. The Dutch captain is set to undergo surgery and could be out for the remainder of the season. Liverpool were already left with only three centre-backs following the sale of Dejan Lovren to Zenit Saint Petersburg in the summer transfer window.
According to the Express, Matip went for a regular check-up and there is no inclination of any knock. The 29-yar-old could make only nine Premier League appearances last year and played his first match this season in the 2-2 draw against Everton. But with Van Dijk injured, Matip will now have to be paired alongside Gomez at the heart of the defence. The pair have never started a Premier League game alongside each other.
Van Dijk, meanwhile, confirmed he will undergo surgery this week and assured the Liverpool fans he will do everything to try and recover fast. "I'm now fully focussed on my recovery and will do everything I can to be back as quickly as possible. Despite the obvious disappointment, I'm a firm believer that within difficultly lies opportunity and with God's help I'm going to make sure I can return better, fitter and stronger than ever before," he said in a statement on social media.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 19, 2020 10:40 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).