Joel Matip is facing around three weeks on the sidelines due to a groin injury sustained against West Brom, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has confirmed.
Matip was forced off on the hour mark against the Baggies on Sunday, with Rhys Williams coming on in his place.
The defender’s absence was felt as Semi Ajayi snatched a late equaliser for West Brom, and the former Schalke man was not in the squad when Liverpool faced Newcastle United on Wednesday.
It proved to be another frustrating match for the Reds, who drew for a second successive fixture as they were held to a 0-0 stalemate – the first goalless game between Newcastle and Liverpool since 1974.
Following the draw at St James’ Park, Klopp confirmed he is set to be without the centre-back for approximately three weeks.
“The normal situation with this kind of injury, [he will be out for] around about three weeks,” Klopp told a news conference.
“We’ll stick together, we’ll keep plugging away and we just need to get that final piece of the puzzle right.”@JamesMilner on tonight’s performance and looking to the future pic.twitter.com/lH8WhaRCY8
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 30, 2020
With Liverpool having lost Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez to potentially season-ending knee injuries, Matip has formed a valuable partnership with the versatile Fabinho at the back.
He has made eight league appearances – just one fewer than he managed in an injury ravaged campaign last term – though he has had time out with thigh and back problems.
Matip is likely to miss Premier League matches against Southampton and Manchester United, which come either side of a trip to Aston Villa in the FA Cup third round.
On Liverpool’s last visit to Villa Park they were beaten 7-2 in October.
Matip has helped Liverpool to three clean sheets in the Premier League this season, making 19 clearances – 12 with his head, ranking joint-second in the squad – and 11 tackles.
The 29-year-old has won 18 aerial battles, though that is lower than tallies managed by fellow defenders Nat Phillips (21), Gomez (21) and Fabinho (29).
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