21 Jan 2017

Great news for Klopp: Club confirms that 'dominant' €22m star is now 'available' for Liverpool return

The farce is over (!) After a week of uncertainty, Joel Matip can now return to first team action for Liverpool.

Matip missed Liverpool last two games due to uncertainty over his eligibility to play during the AFCON, but on Friday evening, FIFA finally got its act together and cleared the defender to resume playing.

A statement on Liverpool's official website confirmed:

"All charges against the club and its player Joel Matip have been dismissed by FIFA...after a complaint had been made by FECAFOOT concerning the player's purported call-up to the Cameroon national team. Following FIFA's ruling, the club now considers the player available for selection".

This is good news for squad strength, but in my view, Matip should not go straight back into the starting lineup. The Klavan-Lovren partnership has - for the most part - been superb in his absence:

* 2 goals conceded (in open play) in 7 games during Matip's absence.

* That's one every 315 mins). 4 goals conceded overall, but two of those were penalties.

* 4 wins. 2 draws, and just 1 defeat (in the EFL). 3 clean sheets. Unbeaten in the league.

* Conversely, in the seven games prior to Matip's absence, Liverpool conceded a goal (from open play) once every 105 minutes.

With this in mind, why should Matip come straight back into the team when the Klavan/Lovren partnership is (currently) far superior? If players are in the team on merit, then Klavan fully deserves to keep his place in the team. My preferred lineup for today:

--------------- Mignolet
Clyne ---- Lovren -- Klavan --- Milner
---- Lallana -- Hendo -- Stewart
--- Firmino - Sturridge - Coutinho

^ Matip: €22m-rated (CIES Football Observatory). Hailed by Sami Hyypia as 'dominant' in the air


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