17 Jan 2017

Disaster for Klopp: 'Brilliant' £100k-a-week Liverpool star could be out until February

Bad news for Liverpool: It looks like 'brilliant' Reds defender Joel Matip not be able to play for Liverpool until the middle of February.

Prior to Sunday's 1-1 draw with Man Utd, Liverpool withdrew Matip from the matchday squad after the Cameroon Football Federation failed to confirm his eligibility to play during the AFCON.

Now, according to the BBC:

"Liverpool could be without Matip for a further six games. Fifa says that without his country's permission, Matip cannot play until the end of Cameroon's participation in the AFCON".

In December, Cameroon's Football Federation posted a statement on its website threatening to impose sanctions on Matip:

“Joel Matip does not want to play for the Lions. These players want to privilege personal interest to the detriment of the national team, which some of them have already used for their development. The Cameroon Football Federation reserves the right to take action in accordance with FIFA regulations".

The relevant 'FIFA FIFA Regulations':

* Rule 3.1: "Every player registered with a club is obliged to respond affirmatively when called up".

* Rule 5: "Unless otherwise agreed, [the player] is not entitled to play for the club with which he is registered during the period for which he has been released. This restriction shall be prolonged by five days in the event that he did not wish to comply with the call-up".

* Rule 6.1: "Violations of any of the provisions shall result in the imposition of disciplinary measures".

If Matip is forced to stay on the sidelines, and Cameroon make it through to final on Feb 5th, he'll be forced to miss the following games: Plymouth Argyle (FA CUP), Swansea, Southampton (LEAGUE CUP), Chelsea, Hull, and Spurs.

In my view, this is not a big issue. Liverpool have ample cover at centre-half, including Mamadou Sakho, and if Matip is ruled out until February 11th, there is absolutely no excuse to ignore him any longer.

Klopp's job is to utilise the players to the benefit of the team, and if there's a central defensive issue, then it's negligence to ignore a player who can help the club (even if it's only to provide cover from the bench).

Klopp needs to swallow his pride and stop holding a grudge against Sakho, and if he's incapable of doing that in Liverpool's hour of need, then it's dereliction of duty.

* Matip: Reportedly on £100k-a-week


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