Liverpool will "show class" over Joel Matip's injury rehabilitation with Cameroon international likely to be ruled out for rest of Anfield contract; Jurgen Klopp hints at extension for 32-year-old and casts doubt over January reinforcements
Friday 8 December 2023 17:56, UK
Jurgen Klopp said Liverpool will "show their class" over Joel Matip's ACL injury, and hinted he may not have played his last game for the club.
Matip was taken off 20 minutes from the end of the Reds' barnstorming 4-3 win over Fulham on Sunday, with scans later showing he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.
The 32-year-old is unlikely to recover in time to play any further part in Liverpool's season and is out of contract at the end of June, meaning he will not play for the club again unless he signs a new deal.
Klopp said Liverpool will support the Cameroon defender through his rehabilitation and further suggested if it was his decision the centre-back, who has been at the club since the manager's first full season in 2016, would be offered an extension.
"I'm pretty sure the club will show their class, just as they should," he said. "I'm pretty sure they have told Joel already whatever happens, as long as he's injured everything's fine, and now we have to make a decision with Joel how it looks after that.
"That's a normal thing to do but he deserves all the support from us, and he will get it. I would say so [that he deserves a new deal], but it's not my decision. I cannot sign the papers."
Matip's absence leaves Liverpool with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate and 20-year-old Jarell Quansah, who made his first Premier League start in September, as Klopp's four centre-back options until at least the January transfer window.
He bristled at the idea of the Reds bringing in a replacement during the winter period, suggesting it would be too hard, and expensive, to secure a signing of the required calibre for the Liverpool squad.
"In eight years, I just never understand people always talking about transfers like they are the easiest things in the world. Bring in a player, find the money for it, like we have endless money," he said.
"I really don't understand it. Everybody, fans, talks about it. It has to be the right player and tell me a club who wants to sell a top, top, top centre-back. Not just a centre-half, a top centre-half - they have to play for Liverpool.
"We know that Joel will be out for a long, long time. That's really bad for us. But there's still four centre-backs here, that's absolutely alright. If we would have had a fifth in already beforehand, that's a completely different team dynamic with one not involved.
"It was perfect how it was. Is it still perfect? As long as we can go with those four, yes. If not, it's going to be a bit more tricky with the number of games coming up.
"As long as other clubs don't put world-class centre-backs under the Christmas tree for us and tell us to take it as long as we need it, I haven't really thought about it yet but I don't think so, to be honest."