Over the first two months of the season, Joël Matip has established himself as something of an undisputed first choice partner for Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. The only lingering concern for many has been his injury track record.
In the past, Matip has been prone to injury, and so no matter how well he was playing, the expectation was that sooner or later, there would be a need for Liverpool to call on their depth. It appears as though, to start October, they will need to do just that.
“He’s not available,” Jürgen Klopp said when asked about Matip’s status given the centre half had reportedly picked up a knock on the weekend against Sheffield. “Joel is not a big [injury], but we don’t have to take a risk and we don’t want to take a risk.”
That will mean a start for Joe Gomez, who was a standout early last season before his own injuries gave Matip the chance to win the starting job and who this season has seen his playing time limited to the recent League Cup game against MK Dons.
Klopp also confirmed that attacker Xherdan Shaqiri remains sidelined after suffering a calf injury in training—one that kept the Swiss international out against MK Dons when he had been expected to be given his first start of the 2019-20 season.
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Alisson Becker continues to work towards a return, and while Salzburg and then Leicester City on the weekend will be too soon for him, it’s possible he will be ready to go against Manchester United on October 20th.