Liverpool Joel Matip injury fears allayed as Jurgen Klopp drops ace for Man Utd FA Cup tie

Joel Matip has not suffered any fresh injury scare after returning to the Liverpool team against Burnley on Thursday night despite being dropped from the match-day squad entirely to face Manchester United in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds take on their bitter rivals at Old Trafford looking to set up a showdown at home to West Ham in the next round of the cup competition.

But Matip is not involved for Liverpool with Fabinho instead being partnered by Rhys Williams in the starting eleven.

The only centre-back option on the substitutes’ bench is Nat Phillips with both Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez fighting to play again this season due to long-term injuries.

Matip missed the Premier League goalless draw with United at Anfield a week ago but was back in the team for the surprise loss against the Clarets in midweek.

The Cameroonian was one of few players to perform as Liverpool’s 68-match unbeaten run in the league came to an end with a 1-0 defeat.

But The Athletic say that Matip has not been left out against United due to any fresh knock, despite having consistently been dogged by niggles in recent seasons.

Instead, his absence is merely precautionary as Liverpool are keen to manage his fitness carefully after his return to the side.

Unsurprisingly so given Matip has regularly suffered a new setback just after coming back into contention.

The reigning English champions face Tottenham away in the league on Wednesday night and Matip is expected to be involved in the capital.

Playing against Burnley, United and Spurs all within a week was deemed too much for the defender having only just battled back from injury.

Matip has only made 11 appearances for Liverpool this season and has yet to start three consecutive league games due to regular fitness problems.

And on the eve of the trip to United, Klopp appeared to admit that he wanted to sign a new centre-back in the January transfer window but was told no by the club’s hierarchy.

“I am not a five-year-old kid any more and if I don’t get what I want I start crying,” he said.

“Most of the time in my life I didn’t get what I wanted to be, so pretty much used to that. We talk about a centre half, and yes, it would help 100 per cent.

“Would we score more goals with a centre half? I am not sure. Would it give us a little bit more stability in specific moments? Yes, probably yes in all these things.

“We discuss the situation pretty much on a daily basis, and I make recommendations.

“But I cannot spend the money. I don’t make these decisions. There are people who are responsible for the whole thing, and I cannot make their decisions.

“I don’t want to confuse anybody. Hopefully we could clarify it now.”

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