Liverpool clash with Crystal Palace on Monday night. The Reds are flying high after their 4-0 win over West Ham on opening day. Manager Jurgen Klopp knows his side will be tested at Selhurst Park and he hopes the Reds will have first-choice defender Joel Matip available against Crystal Palace.
Liverpool news: Jurgen Klopp hopeful defender will be available against Crystal Palace
Matip was forced out of Liverpool’s preseason match against Borussia Dortmund on July 22. The centre-back hasn’t figured in any Liverpool preseason or Premier League match since. However, Klopp hopes Matip will be on the Liverpool bench for Monday’s trip to Selhurst Park.
Klopp is sweating Liverpool’s defensive fitness as centre-back Dejan Lovren is suffering from an injured pelvis. On Friday, Liverpool announced the transfer of centre-back Ragnar Klavan to Italy’s Cagliari.
The move leaves Liverpool with Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk as the fit centre-backs capable of starting on Monday. The pair played the full 90 minutes against West Ham to open the season. Klopp could include 21-year-old Nathanial Phillips into the squad if Matip is unable to play.
On Friday, Klopp addressed his injury issues. Just hours later, the Reds officially announced Klavan’s departure from Anfield.
“Joel is close to being back. Hopefully, he is able to be in the squad on Monday, so then we will have him,” Klopp said.
“Ragnar didn’t train and Dejan didn’t train. Of course, Ox and Rhian Brewster [did not train], that’s clear. I think that’s it, pretty much.”
Klopp also spoke about Gomez’s performance against West Ham and his future use as a centre-back.
“I was never in doubt about Joe and his ability to play at centre-half, but he needed time after a long injury,” Klopp said. “Full-back is a very important position, but you still have most of the time one centre-half at your back still, so I think it helps, especially in defending moments.
“Now he is fit, which is very good. He is a very good football player and played the position good. Together with Virgil, they have a very good understanding – on a personal level as well and that’s really cool.
“We have the others as well. Dejan is still a bit injured, but we have Nat Phillips and, if we need it, then Fabinho can play the position as well, so that’s good. We have enough players and now we need to see who is fit, who fits to which opponent the best and then we make a line-up.
“That Joe can play the position really well I knew before.”