Jurgen Klopp has revealed the severity of the ankle injury suffered by center back Joel Matip, who was subbed off at halftime of Liverpool’s 3-1 Premier League victory away to Tottenham Hotspur on Thursday.
UPDATE: Liverpool confirmed on Monday that Matip will miss the remainder of the 2020-21 season due to the ankle ligament damage he suffered last week.
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Joel Matip is set to miss the remainder of the 2020/21 season due to an ankle ligament injury.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 1, 2021
Following the game, Klopp revealed the injury “looks like something serious” before later stating that Matip had suffered damage to his ankle ligaments. However, Klopp backtracked on those comments on Friday, in an official statement on the club’s website, with the following:
“Last night I was after the game, especially with that [Matip injury], pretty emotional just because at halftime the boys [are] sitting there. Now, meanwhile, there are still glimpses of hope that it’s not serious.
“No, we don’t have the final result because the scan didn’t happen yet. So we know more in three or four hours hopefully.”
A further update is therefore expected later on Friday.
Joel Matip wasn’t the only Liverpool “center back” to rejoin the Reds’ lengthy injured list on Thursday as Fabinho, who has spent the last few months deployed in his secondary position, missed the win over Tottenham due to a “minor muscular injury.” Klopp also updated his (shorter-term) status on Friday.
“Fabinho, no chance for the weekend.”
Time to (finally) make a signing
UPDATE: Liverpool made a pair of center back signings on Monday, transfer deadline day, with 25-year-old Ben Davies and 20-year-old Ozan Kabak (loan, with option to buy) joining from Preston North End and Schalke, respectively. FULL DETAILS HERE
Klopp has spent the better part of the 2020-21 season — since Virgil van Dijk tore his ACL back on Oct. 17, basically — insisting that Liverpool wouldn’t be forced into making a rash signing to replace the superstar center back. He again insisted that money didn’t need to be spent after Joe Gomez ruptured a tendon in his knee in mid-November; Klopp maintained that same party line when Joel Matip was unavailable for close to a month around the same time.
But now, faced with the prospect of being without his first, second and third options at center back for a lengthy period of time, Klopp is softening his stance — quotes from our partners at Sky Sports:
“If you have a center half available at a reasonable price, and one with the quality we need, then send me a message.”
“You can imagine that we think about everything. Of course, we thought the whole time, we think the whole time, it’s about doing the right thing it’s not, I’m not picky or whatever, but we need to find the right player.
“We have players, still not a lot to be honest in the defensive line, it’s incredible what’s happening there. It’s really incredible.”
One possible option which has emerged, according to a report from ESPN, is New York Red Bulls and USMNT center back Aaron Long. The 28-year-old would serve more as a (very) short-term solution — perhaps even for just a month or two — with the 2021 MLS season already delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a work stoppage quickly becoming an increasingly likely possibility.
Long is the subject of other reported interest, though, with EFL Championship side Reading previously said to be seeking a loan deal. There are also unnamed “clubs in England and France” reportedly interested, though it seems unlikely that Long would turn down the opportunity to play for the defending Premier League champions if given the chance.
For transfer deadline day on Feb. 1, you can watch Sky Sports News free on Peacock from 8 a.m. ET, plus we will also have a special transfer Deadline Day show on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com from 4-6:30 p.m. ET.