Liverpool will play their third pre-season friendly this weekend when they travel to the Energy Check Stadium at Gigg Lane on Saturday to face League Two side Bury F.C. in Greater Manchester, England.
On Thursday morning, Jürgen Klopp spoke about our upcoming preseason fixture and the squad availability for Saturday. Klopp specifically addressed the status of Joël Matip, who hasn’t played since our 2-1 win away to Crystal Palace on 31 March 2018 when he sustained a thigh injury that ruled him out for the remainder of last season.
“It’s preseason so I don’t know exactly who will be ready for Saturday, to be honest,” Klopp told the club’s official website. “I hope Joel [can play], it looks like that.”
Having not had luck on his side, Matip made a mere 35 appearances for the club during last season due to injuries. Aside from his season-ending thigh injury, Matip also suffered a muscular injury in November 2017, but the centre half is determined to get back into the team on a regular basis after spending the summer working on his rehabilitation program at Melwood.
Matip rejoined the squad in full training earlier this week, and it would seem that he is prepared to fight for his place in the first team. With Dejan Lovren’s current World Cup involvement, he has an ideal opportunity and welcome chance to prove his mettle. Ragnar Klavan, Pedro Chirivella and Nathaniel Philips are also available as central defensive options but Matip is determined and hopeful that his fitness will only improve along with his efforts in reclaiming his spot in our Premier League starting 11 once the 2018-19 season kicks off.
“If the manager decides [I can play] I would be happy,” Matip said. “I think I am ready. Of course, I am in full training, but I think to get the real full fitness everybody needs a bit longer, me especially after a long injury, but we are all on a good way and me as well.
“I’m looking forward to these pre-season games, to get fit and get back to a good level. I spent a lot of time over the summer here in Liverpool, at Melwood, to be ready and to get fit. I felt, over the summer, quite good and they did a lot of good things, sometimes not easy, things with me but they helped me a lot, of course.
“Every football player wants to be fit, but especially after a season with a few injuries you want this more. I try to work on my own fitness and to be ready. This needs some time, but I’m still looking forward to the new steps like playing friendly games. I am quite positive.”
Liverpool take on Bury F.C. on Saturday, 14 July 2018 at 3PM GMT/11AM EST, as they continue their preparations for the 2018-19 season. This will be their third match, with another six to come before the Premier League returns in August.