Joel Matip has told Jurgen Klopp he’s ready to stay injury-free at a time when Liverpool need him most.
Jurgen Klopp has spoken at length about the impact that this season’s fixture schedule is having on players. Indeed, Liverpool have suffered worse than most clubs for injuries due to the short turnaround in matches.
Naby Keita, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri have all suffered muscle or related injuries since the start of the season.
Keita’s hamstring problem, suffered against Leicester last Sunday, prompted Klopp into a rant post-match that Sky Sports did not air in the UK.
However, after James Milner also encountered a hamstring problem against Brighton, Klopp eclipsed that exchange when speaking to BT Sport reporter Des Kelly.
The argument began when Kelly asked the German to confirm if Milner had a hamstring problem. Klopp said: “Yeah. Congratulations.”
After Kelly asked if Klopp was speaking to him personally, the manager added: “No, but you work for them. Hamstring, surprise, and they had injuries as well. But ask Chris Wilder how we can avoid that.”
Indeed, Liverpool’s injury situation took another turn after three more injuries emerged from Tuesday’s win over Ajax. Klopp, however, is hopeful the trio did not suffer any long-lasting damage.
Liverpool have been most badly impacted in the centre of defence, with Gomez and Virgil van Dijk missing in the heart of defence.
That has left Matip as Liverpool’s only fit, senior centre-half. However, the Cameroon international is no stranger to the treatment table himself. Having been dogged by injuries himself, Matip has just completed back-to-back matches for Liverpool for only the second time this year.
Nonetheless, the 29-year-old says he is feeling good and has promised to Klopp he can rely on him.
“You have to come back and you try to be back stronger, but of course you always need some time to get back on a good level,” Matip said in Liverpool’s match-day programme.
“I am feeling good now and I am looking forward to playing a lot of games.
“The fitness and medical departments always try to improve things. We are working on different things.
“Sometimes you don’t have that much influence on it, but we are working hard to keep every player as fit as possible.
Speaking last month, Klopp is adamant Matip can emerge as a key figure for Liverpool.
He said: “[He is at] The best football age! Joel, since he was with us, he is incredible.
“He was incredible before, that’s why we signed him. He is an incredible football player, it’s unbelievable how good he is.
“Yes, he was unlucky with injuries. Before he arrived here he had no injuries, played for Schalke pretty much through four, five or six years.
“Here, when it starts with one and you have to be lucky from a specific moment, but they were all different.
“The last injury he had, someone cut his tendon on the toe by swishing, it was in the Everton game last season.
“Then you are out and it looks like you are vulnerable or whatever, but it’s just something everybody would have had if you are in the situation. Now he’s back and hopefully for a long time.
“If he is in the best moment of his career, I don’t know, but I was really happy with the moment of his career he was in for the last four years. Super player.”
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