Liverpool are facing up to another potential injury absentee in defence ahead of Monday’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace, with Joel Matip understood to be a doubt.
he club already have a long injury list and, as a precaution, Matip, an important figure last season, sat out training yesterday in the hope he might be ready for the Palace game.
The 31-year-old, who played against Fulham in the season opener, has a groin problem.
It means that Joe Gomez, should he be fully fit, is likely to partner Virgil van Dijk in defence. The Englishman featured in 21 games last season, just eight in the Premier League, after suffering a patella tendon injury which kept him out for much of the previous season and he is being monitored. He trained with the squad yesterday.
Jurgen Klopp is already without first-choice centre-half Ibrahima Konate, who picked up a knee problem in pre-season and is out for a month.
The club have Nat Phillips for cover for the time being and it also means the recruitment department may have to re-evaluate the merits of allowing 20-year-old Dutch defender Sepp van den Berg to go out on loan this window. The latest problem with Matip has added to a long list of absentees, with the season just one game old.
Liverpool are without Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and new full-back Calvin Ramsay. All are injured, as is reserve goalkeeper Caoimhín Kelleher.
Klopp said at his press conference yesterday that Naby Keita would be fit to play in Monday’s game and that Kostas Tsimikas had trained again with the first team after a period out injured. Thiago is out for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury. Harvey Elliott, who missed much of last season through injury, may start against Palace.
Klopp said: “I am happy with the strength, size and quality of my squad. We have injuries, that’s how it is.
“Now it is the question how long the players will be out and there are different solutions for it. One of them is the transfer market but the transfer market makes sense only if you can bring in the right player.”
Klopp added: “We have too many injuries, that is clear . . . I understand the questions [about potential new signings]. We are not stubborn and say, ‘No, no way, we don’t bring in anyone’. It is just [a question of] the right thing to do.”
On Thiago, Klopp said: “The injury is not good. I read four to six weeks. I would prefer four.”
The Liverpool manager also conceded that Elliott’s progress meant that the teenager could figure ahead of Keita and James Milner in midfield against Palace. “Everybody has the chance to make the next step in their development. He had a good pre-season, all the games he came on he was really decisive,” he said.
“Does he have to step up? Yeah, but like all the others as well.”
Telegraph Media Group Limited