We all knew it was too good to last.
A second consecutive Liverpool draw to a bottom half team following Wednesday’s 0-0 result against Newcastle has been compounded by news that Joël Matip is once again out for an extended period with an injury.
The Cameroonian defender pulled up in the second half against West Brom with what has been diagnosed as an abductor injury, putting the 29-year-old out of commission for the third time this season, according to manager Jürgen Klopp.
“The normal stuff with these kind of injuries, [he will be out for] around about three weeks,” Klopp told a press conference following the draw at St James’ Park.
The Reds third-choice defender has been a crucial player when available, with Liverpool relying on him following long-term injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez. The problem is that the lanky center back has completed the full 90 minutes on a mere six occasions in all competitions so far, leaving his side desperately short at the back more often than not this season.
Though talented, Matip’s latest absence represents his eighth major injury setback in his four-and-a-half years at the club and unfortunately can no longer be trusted as anything as a bonus option at this point.
While rumors have circulated that the club will place their faith in youngsters Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams alongside makeshift center back Fabinho for the remainder of the campaign rather than looking to reinforce in January, an inability to rely on Matip for anything more than a handful of games at a time means that still might not be enough to sustain domestic and European challenges.
Of course, one must acknowledge that pandemic-related struggles have burned a sizeable hole in in the club’s finances, however January still represents the chance to potentially cement a second straight Premier League title. FSG must step up to the plate once more.