Joel Matip is a doubt for Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Ajax this week, Goal has learned.
The Cameroon defender made his return to action in Saturday’s Merseyside derby, having missed the start of the season due to a hamstring problem.
He completed 90 minutes, the first time he has done so in a competitive fixture since October 2019, but Goal can confirm he complained of some discomfort after the game and was subsequently sent for a scan by the club’s medical staff.
The good news is that no major issue was detected, but Liverpool will tread with caution knowing Matip’s injury history, and may choose to leave him out of their side for Wednesday’s trip to Amsterdam.
The Reds have already been rocked by the news that Virgil van Dijk will be missing for a number of months after suffering damage to his anterior cruciate ligament against Everton.
The Dutchman will undergo surgery on the injury, sustained after a reckless challenge from Blues goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the first half of Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
Van Dijk’s injury leaves Matip and Joe Gomez as Liverpool’s specialist senior centre-backs, although both have had fitness issues of their own in the past. Neither have managed to complete 30 league games in a single campaign at Anfield, while Matip managed just 13 appearances in all competitions last season.
It means Fabinho could be in line to deputise at centre-back against Ajax, while untried trio Rhys Williams, Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio will also be on standby. Liverpool also have a Premier League game at home to Sheffield United on Saturday evening to prepare for.
They also have concerns over midfielder Thiago Alcantara, despite the Spaniard avoiding serious injury after a challenge from Richarlison in the dying stages against Everton. The 29-year-old will be monitored closely having suffered pain in his knee following the tackle.
Alisson Becker, though, could offer some positive news, with the goalkeeper due to return to training after a shoulder injury this week, well ahead of schedule.
Liverpool had feared he would miss as many as six weeks, but are hopeful he will now be able to return to action before the end of October.