Dejan Lovren misses Liverpool's trip to Brighton but Joel Matip could return
Last Updated: 11/01/19 6:18pm
Dejan Lovren will miss Saturday's game at Brighton but Liverpool have been handed a boost by the return to training of fellow centre-back Joel Matip.
Lovren suffered an injury in the early stages of Liverpool's 2-1 FA Cup loss at Wolves on Monday and was replaced after five minutes by Dutch 16-year-old Ki-Jana Hoever.
That left boss Jurgen Klopp with only one fit senior centre-back in Virgil van Dijk, and speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Brighton, Klopp said it is likely Lovren will miss Liverpool's next two games.
Asked how long Lovren could be out for, Klopp said: "I don't know. Yes, it is serious otherwise he could play [against Brighton] but it's not that serious.
"I would expect him back maybe after Crystal Palace but I'm not sure we have to see."
But the Liverpool manager gave a more positive update on the fitness of Matip, who suffered a broken collarbone in the closing stages of the 1-0 Champions League win against Napoli last month.
"Joel trained for the first time yesterday with the team," Klopp said.
"That is really good but we have to see. We have to take it day-by-day and see how he is doing but that is good for us of course."
If Matip is unable to return to action, Klopp could turn to defensive midfielder Fabinho to partner Van Dijk at the back for the Brighton game, where Liverpool can extend their lead over Manchester City to seven points.
The Brazilian, who began his career in his homeland as a right-back, played in central defence against Wolves on Monday night.
"If Fabinho has to play as a centre-half (against Brighton) - he has played there before - we will have to work on that on the training pitch," Klopp added.
"What we want is the natural understanding of the game because it is still only football and if you are a No 6, a holding player, with the ball it is easier.
"Without the ball it's different because you don't have a line behind you, but he will have all the boys around him. We speak a lot during the week but we try not to make it more complicated than it is."
Liverpool's midfield options may be limited should Fabinho revert to a defensive role, with Adam Lallana still unavailable and skipper Jordan Henderson nursing a calf injury.
"Hendo will train for the first time today," added Klopp. "We will see what that means exactly."