When news broke that Joël Matip would miss time with a thigh injury, the prognosis was bad—the expectation was that the defender, Jürgen Klopp’s first choice centre half, would miss the entirety of the busy holiday fixture list and be out until at least the new year. Today, though, there may be good news.
"I don't know how long exactly he'll be out, but he's not playing Wednesday," was the managr’s update when asked about Matip today, though when asked about a timeline, Klopp seemed surprised. "A month? No, I don't think so. It's possible, but we have to wait. But it's possible that it will be shorter.”
In the meantime, the expectation will be that Ragnar Klavan or Joe Gomez—with the first returning from injury over the weekend and not fit to start and the second coming off playing three games in a week—will start at the back alongside Dejan Lovren and that we won’t see another unorthodox back three.
That selection, of midfielders Gini Wijnaldum and Emre Can to either side of Lovren, worked against Brighton over the weekend, but the expectation will be for a return to centre halves playing centre halves when Klopp has options he considers fit to start. Still, for the manager it’s good to know he has options.
“They have to do it, we don't have anybody else,” added Klopp when asked about his decision making process when landing on a Can, Lovren, Wijnaldum back three. "I enjoyed it. It was like, ‘Wow, interesting!’ We had 20 minutes in training then we spoke for a little bit in the team meeting before the game.
“It was clear it wouldn't be perfect, but the boys were ready to cope with the difficulties of the new system and they did really well."