I don’t like player injuries. You may have a different take, but for me, injuries are bad and I’ve said many times that scientists should figure out a way to eliminate them from existence. But thus far science has failed us. Regardless, we fight on. One man currently fighting on, working and willing his body to heal a muscle injury he picked up in the match against West Bromwich Albion, is Liverpool’s own Joël Matip.
Jürgen Klopp included the defender on a list of players who are not one hundred percent available yet for the visit of Crystal Palace to Anfield on Sunday. But Matip was happy to add that nothing is concrete and that he’s almost optimistic about recovering in time to be selected. Almost.
“I’m hoping,” said Matip, “but as the coach said I’m still struggling to be available for Sunday. I’m still fighting to get back.
“It’s a muscle problem, a muscle issue. But I will do my best to be available for the coach and for the team.”
If there is any sliver of hope to grasp onto it’s that Matip incurred the muscle thing during the match at West Brom and continued on to finish out the game. So maybe Klopp rolls the dice on this one.
“During the game I felt this and I had a few problems,” Matip said, “but I could continue the game and that was the main thing on this day.”
Few would advocate throwing an injured player into the mix of a match. You could worsen the injury. Or you could have a player on the pitch who is operating at well below one hundred percent power. Battery drains. Quickness fades. Goals get conceded. But, desperate times and so forth.
Is Joe Gomez the next man on the list to fill in for Matip? Klopp has made it clear that both Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan are also not exactly bounding up and down the training pitch at the moment. Gomez could be pulled into the team to partner Dejan Lovren and be expected to keep Christian Benteke quiet for ninety minutes.
I have no problem with Gomez getting into the team but Liverpool are in a must-win final spiral of doom until the end of the season and the likes of Crystal Palace are still fighting to move up the table. Also, we’ve got priors with Palace that I really don’t want to get into.
There is another two full days until Klopp is expected to make his team selection. Two full days for Matip, Lucas and Klavan to either work with the sports science folks at Melwood to speed up recovery or heal their bodies with magic. I don’t really care which option they choose. But, you know, magic.