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Dublin: 6°C Monday 1 March 2021

Klopp unhappy as Matip could miss 8 games 'without doing anything wrong'

The Liverpool manager is frustrated at the lack of clarity from Fifa as his defender remains unavailable.

Joel Matip has been in limbo in recent weeks as Fifa have refused to grant him permission to play for Liverpool.
Joel Matip has been in limbo in recent weeks as Fifa have refused to grant him permission to play for Liverpool.

LIVERPOOL BOSS JURGEN Klopp has voiced his frustration with the ongoing uncertainty about Joel Matip’s availability, claiming that the defender could miss up to eight games without having done anything wrong.

Matip was called up by Cameroon for the Africa Cup of Nations, despite having signalled his desire to stop representing his country.

The centre-back was withdrawn from the squad for the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the weekend and will also miss the upcoming FA Cup replay against Plymouth Argyle as Liverpool seek clarification over his availability.

Fifa has reportedly failed to provide any further guidance to the Reds, pointing them to regulations that state: “A player who has been called up by his association for one of its representative teams is, unless otherwise agreed by the relevant association, not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released or should have been released pursuant to the provisions of this annexe, plus an additional period of five days.”

Liverpool have an EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Southampton on the horizon, as well as a crunch Premier League encounter with Chelsea, prompting Klopp’s anger.

“As a human being, it is hard for me. I accept rules in life but I think they are based on human senses,” Klopp told reporters on Tuesday.

“For me, it is pretty difficult. Fifa told us last Friday that they will decide if they open a case or not this Friday.

If Fifa opens a case, and I do not think they will, then it would be between seven and 10 days. In our situation, that would have meant the games against United, Plymouth and Swansea. If the result is what we think it would be and everything is okay, then he did not play eight games since 2 January [had he been fit] without doing anything wrong.

“The thing is that in this moment, we are sure we have done nothing wrong. Joel did nothing wrong. He did not play for Cameroon since 2015. In this moment, he is not in the squad but we have no 100 per cent guarantee that he could play for us.

It is really difficult to get in contact with the people. We know where we have to go, we can wait, but it is like with injuries, you have to try everything to be there a day earlier than we all thought was possible.

“We have a fit player, doing really well in training, who did not play for Cameroon in 15 months but we cannot use him. It is really difficult. But we are not the only club in this situation; Schalke and West Brom are in the same situation and the goalkeeper at Ajax too.”

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