Joel Matip

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Manchester City wins Community Shield

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It took penalty kicks to separate Liverpool and Manchester City in a wasteful but entertaining Community Shield on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Claudio Bravo‘s second round stop of Georginio Wijnaldum met perfect finishing from the reigning domestic treble champions after a 1-1 score line over 90 minutes.

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The Reds were dominant in the second half, but only found one goal before penalties.

Sterling tucked a delightful David Silva flick under Alisson Becker in the first half, but Joel Matip nodded a late equalizer past Bravo in the second half.

Leroy Sane limped off after just 11 minutes with an injury which could jeopardize a nine-figure deal to Bayern Munich.

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Sane lashed into the side netting after Raheem Sterling picked the pocket of an unaware Joe Gomez in the fourth minute.

At the other end, Roberto Firmino juggled to set up a left-footed lash right to Claudio Bravo.

The Reds probably should’ve been up when Firmino slipped Mohamed Salah into the box, but the Egyptian couldn’t turn his shot near the goal.

Sterling could, however, side-footing a flick from David Silva under Alisson Becker, who would’ve liked to have done better.

Salah looked for a quick response, cooking Oleksandr Zinchenko on the right before missing the near post again.

Kevin De Bruyne was also very much in preseason form in terms of finishing, and his scuffed shot turned into a Sterling chance which Alisson did well to save.

Sterling then beat the Liverpool line and Alisson only to hit the far post in the 48th minute.

The Reds were all over City in the early second half, and Liverpool fans were hoping the Goal Decision System would tell them Virgil Van Dijk leveled off a corner kick to no avail.

Salah then hit the post after Sterling partially blocked a Trent Alexander-Arnold free kick.

Sterling should’ve made it 2-0 again, but the relatively wasteful forward dribbled directly into Alisson.

If Salah, Sterling, and De Bruyne were in peak finishing form, this could’ve easily been a 4-3 match, with the last name scuffing a low shot to Alisson in the 73rd.

Van Dijk kept a rally alive to set up Matip for a headed equalizer in the final 15 minutes.

Bravo made a fine save on Naby Keita in the 83rd minute.

Salah’s umpteenth chance of the game could’ve decided it in stoppage time, but Walker made an incredible goal line clearance and the ensuing corner was poorly served above the fray.

Liverpool defender Gomez may require surgery

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Liverpool fans expected the return of Joe Gomez to ease their thin defensive back line, but that may be put on hold.

After Gomez fractured his leg against Burnley, Gomez was expected to be back out on the field in six weeks’ time. But two months after the injury, there is only bad news.

With the 21-year-old still not back on the field, Klopp was asked directly if his defender required surgery to fix the problem. “I don’t know,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League match against West Ham on Monday. “We will see. It is possible, probably. It is not exactly going how we want, that’s how it is. He needs more time. We will see exactly how we do it.”

While Klopp’s assessment of his defender’s health was somewhat vague, he made it clear the recovery process has not gone according to plan. “There were different moments when we thought we could do this or that. It will take time. We can not say more,” Klopp said.

The inability for Gomez to return to the pitch has presented Liverpool with yet another problem along its back line, one of many. Dejan Lovren may miss the West Ham match with a setback regarding a hamstring injury that has kept him out since early January. Trent Alexander-Arnold has missed the last two matches with a knee injury and the club confirmed he will not return to training until next week. Virgil Van Dijk has played every single minute of the Premier League season but is suspended for the next Champions League match due to yellow card accumulation.

The injuries have forced reserve defender Joel Matip into action alongside van Dijk over the last two games, and the Reds have conceded four goals to Crystal Palace and Leicester City in that span. Jordan Henderson was forced to play right-back in the 1-1 draw against Leicester City, but James Milner will be back from his yellow card suspension to take over in that role.

Already-thin Liverpool center back corps loses Matip to quad injury

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Liverpool’s 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund featured an injury to a position with very little depth.

The Reds lost Joel Matip to what Jurgen Klopp said could possibly be a “small tear” in one of his quads.

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If Matip, 26, needs any significant time to heal up, he’ll put a major question mark into Liverpool’s opening day center back pairing.

Virgil Van Dijk, who scored against BVB on Sunday, already won’t have Dejan Lovren as a partner thanks to a post-World Cup vacation.

That leaves Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan as options next to Van Dijk.

Matches at Crystal Palace and home to Brighton and Hove Albion follow the Aug. 12 visit from West Ham.

Joel Matip’s season likely over due to injury

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Joel Matip’s season looks likely to be over after he suffered a thigh injury in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The center back, 26, played alongside Virgil Van Dijk in the win but ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League quarterfinal first leg with Manchester City at Anfield on Wednesday, the club have confirmed Matip’s injury is likely to require surgery.

In his second season with Liverpool after arriving from Schalke on a free transfer, Matip has been an important part of an improved Reds defense but since van Dijk arrived in January for a club record $100 million the Cameroon international has found himself splitting minutes with Dejan Lovren.

Here are more details from Liverpool’s website on Matip’s injury.

“Matip was able to complete the full 90 minutes of the fixture, but afterwards medical assessment on the thigh revealed surgery is expected to be required to correct the problem. The operation is likely to end the 26-year-old’s involvement in the remainder of the 2017-18 season.”

This is a blow for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool, especially after losing Joe Gomez through injury over the international break, but now it is time for Lovren to step up and prove his doubters wrong.

There has been signs of promise about Lovren and VVD playing together and now we will find out just how good they are as a partnership as they will likely play all of Liverpool’s remaining eight games (and possibly more if they get past City in the Champions League) of the season together at center back.

VVD is the main man at Liverpool and now Lovren must find his best form as he has started ahead of Matip in big games in recent months but has struggled at times as he was at fault during Liverpool’s defeat at Manchester United last month.

Report: Liverpool could lose Matip for a month

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Originally ruled out for just this weekend’s fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion, the prognosis of Liverpool defender Joel Matip’s injury worry appears worse than feared.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Matip could miss up to a month of action due to a thigh injury, potentially sidelining him for a busy set of games. Between now and the end of December, Liverpool has eight matches, including one against Arsenal and another in the UEFA Champions League.

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The injury is yet another blow to a beleaguered Liverpool backline, which has conceded 18 goals this Premier League season. Matip has made 13 appearances in the Premier League this season.

Liverpool is going to have to get big performances from Dejan Lovren, Joe Gomez and Ragnar Klavan in the center of defense while Matip is gone if they want to remain competitive for a Champions League position.