News Live Scores

FIFA clears Matip to play for Liverpool after Afcon dispute

22:03 GMT 20/01/2017
HD Joel Matip
The centre-back will be available for selection against Swansea City after the governing body ruled in his favour following FECAFOOT's complaint

Joel Matip is eligible to play for Liverpool with immediate effect as FIFA have dismissed Cameroon's case against the defender.

The 25-year-old, who recently recovered from a troublesome ankle issue, had to be withdrawn from the matchday squad against Manchester United last Sunday and missed the midweek FA Cup replay at Plymouth Argyle as the Reds sought clarity on whether he was allowed to feature for the club during the Africa Cup of Nations.

Having been drafted into Cameroon’s provisional list for the tournament despite making it clear he would be continuing his self-imposed exile of over a year, Matip was then omitted from their final squad.

With the Indomitable Lions wanting the centre-back sanctioned for refusing a call-up, Liverpool and the player maintained he had communicated his unavailability to them in advance and on several occasions considering he last represented the national team in September 2015.

And FIFA have now agreed that Matip had nothing to answer for, meaning Jurgen Klopp can consider him for selection against Swansea City at Anfield on Saturday.

The Reds boss admitted that the summer arrival from Schalke has "not been that involved" in preparations for the encounter given his ongoing situation, so an immediate return to the starting line-up is unlikely.

The update from FIFA arrived after Friday’s training session, so the likelihood is Matip will be named in reserve.

The decision will serve as a massive lift for Liverpool, who feared an official investigation would need to be opened first before a ruling could be received. 

Such a process would've taken up to 10 days, but with the Bochum-born man having suffered no ramifications for withdrawing himself from international consideration while at Schalke, FIFA's deliberation was made easier. 

That coupled with Matip's openness about his unavailability, and Cameroon coach Hugo Broos publicly admitting his failure to convince the player to change his mind in early December, would've proved strong arguments in Liverpool's favour.