Liverpool have received a huge boost just before a busy schedule as their centre-back Joel Matip has been given the green light to play for the club by FIFA, following confusion over the Cameron international’s availability during the Africa Cup of Nations.
Following Cameron’s claim that the defender had refused a call-up from the national team, the Reds were waiting for the game’s governing body’s verdict on the player as according to the rules, a player may be blocked from featuring for his club if he refuses to turn up for his national team.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp was growing frustrated with the former Schalke star’s situation as he has been missing the player for some big matches, including the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last week.
Calling the situation unfair, he had said:
“The Matip case is obviously, for us, special and we do not feel it is fair. We do what we can but we cannot change it and we cannot turn it in our direction because we want it.
“It is difficult in this position because with the fixtures we have at the moment we don’t have a lot of training time and you have to work with the team which could start in the next game. And when you’re not sure what to do with Joel he is not that involved.”
Klopp will now be very pleased to have one of the key members of his team available as FIFA has dismissed the case. The Merseyside outfit has not lost any of the 14 games Matip has started this season and will surely be bolstered by his return.
The Reds are currently third in the table, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, and will be looking to remain hot on the heels of Antonio Conte’s side when they host struggling Swansea City on Saturday. They’ll receive further boost by Klopp’s confirmation that Nathaniel Clyne is in line to return after missing two games through injury, while skipper Jordan Henderson may also return after recovering from a heel problem.
Speaking in the pre-match conference, he said:
“It’s all in a good way. Clyne and Jordan Henderson were not in team training until now but should be back.
“Clyne could (make it). He’s had two running sessions, only to feel if he could cope with the pain. Yesterday he was very up, which was good.
“Hendo is good too. He felt a muscle a little bit more than he used to. But it’s still about the original injury. That’s more the problem still.”