Liverpool’s defensive crisis deepens as Jurgen Klopp confirms Joel Matip sustained ankle ligament damage in win over Tottenham… leaving Reds in desperate need of a new centre back ahead of the January window shutting
- Liverpool got back on track in style, beating Tottenham 3-1 away on Thursday
- Despite the emphatic victory, it wasn’t all good news for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp
- Centre back Joel Matip was forced off at half-time with an injury in north London
- Reds boss Klopp has since confirmed that Matip suffered ankle ligament damage
Liverpool may have got back on track in style with a 3-1 victory at Tottenham but it wasn’t all good news for Jurgen Klopp on Thursday after yet another injury in defence to Joel Matip.
Injury-prone Matip was forced off at half-time during Liverpool’s emphatic win, with Nathaniel Phillips coming onto partner makeshift defender Jordan Henderson at centre back as the Reds finally ended their five-match winless streak in the Premier League.
And following the final whistle, Klopp confirmed that Matip had sustained ankle ligament damage at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, leaving Liverpool extremely threadbare in defence once more.
Joel Matip sustained ankle ligament damage during Liverpool’s 3-1 victory at Tottenham
Liverpool’s win at Spurs on Thursday night was somewhat marred by Matip’s ankle injury
Fabinho missed out in north London due to a ‘minor’ muscle injury, putting pressure on Matip to step up in his absence as Liverpool’s only experienced centre back alongside midfielder Henderson on Thursday.
Matip had only recently returned to Liverpool’s starting line-up following three weeks out with a groin injury.
Defensive midfielder Fabinho has been filling in brilliantly at centre back for the Reds in the absence of regulars Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez – who are out for the long-term – while Matip had already missed large chunks of the season through injury.
And now Liverpool are set to be without Matip for quite some time following his latest setback, and it has become even more crucial that Klopp dips into the transfer market before the window closes on February 1.
Matip had only recently returned to fitness after missing three weeks with a groin injury
Nathaniel Phillips came on at half-time to partner Jordan Henderson in the heart of defence
Klopp was questioned on a potential move late on in the transfer window following the final whistle.
The charismatic German responded: ‘You can imagine that we think about everything, of course.
‘We thought the whole time, we think the whole time, it’s about doing the right thing. I’m not picky or whatever… but we need to find the right player.
‘We have players still. Not a lot, to be honest, in the defence line it is incredible what’s happening there, it’s really incredible. But that’s it.’
The Matip-Henderson combination was the 11th different partnership Klopp has used in the top flight this season – highlighting their issues in the position.
And the latest injury news will surely force Liverpool’s hand to delve into the January market for a last-ditch move.
Fabinho, who has filled in excellently in defence, missed out due to a ‘minor’ muscle injury
Finding an experienced centre back amid the injury crisis is a priority for the Reds as they look to get their defence of the Premier League title back on track.
Liverpool currently sit fourth in the Premier League, four points off Manchester City having already played a match more.
With crunch games coming up in the Premier League against City on February 7 before taking on fellow title challengers Leicester the weekend after, the Reds are heading into a make or break moment in their season.
And throw in the return of the Champions League, in which they take on last season’s semi-finalists RB Leipzig in the last-16 stage, it is imperative that Liverpool sign an experienced centre back amid the hectic schedule.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s match, former Manchester United centre back Rio Ferdinand found it baffling that Liverpool hadn’t addressed the issue already in the January transfer market and added that they are ‘sacrificing their season’ as the likes of young centre halves Phillips and Rhys Williams aren’t ready.
Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, both out in the long-term, are huge absentees for the Reds
‘We were all sat here before the programme and said that you think they would go into the market [and buy someone]. Is it the people who own the club’s decision or is it Klopp’s?’ he questioned before kick-off.
‘They’re weak in the back and now in midfield because they’re playing in defence. There’s a big void left at the back.
‘[If they don’t sign anyone] That means they want to sacrifice their season with the inexperience of Nat Phillips and Rhys Williams.’
His thoughts were echoed by Sportsmail columnist Peter Crouch who was also a pundit in the BT Sport studio on Thursday night.
‘I can’t understand why they haven’t gone in for a centre back and get a stop-gap until the big boys are back,’ he said.
‘The recruitment at Liverpool is usually so good so I’m confused why they haven’t got one.’
More to follow…
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