Everything was going in favor of Liverpool since their last month’s defeat against bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. But the Reds have now suffered a huge blow less than 48 hours before their crucial Champions League quarterfinal first leg tie against Manchester City following the injury news of Joel Matip who is now ruled out for the rest of the campaign.
The 26-year-old centre-back has ruptured his thigh muscle and needs to go through a surgery in order to make himself available from the beginning of the next campaign. The Cameroonian was likely to partner Virgil van Dijk in central defence versus the Citizens but an injury sustained against Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon seems costly for him as well as the Merseysiders who will now bank on unloved Dejan Lovren for the rest of the season.
Lovren has delivered some towering displays so far this term but his consistency has been marred by a number of erroneous outings. One error will make a huge impact in aggregate against the mighty Man City and the Anfield crowd will be annoyed on Wednesday night when the Croatian will be lined up in Liverpool deep defence. Young Englishman Joe Gomez and Estonian Ragnar Klavan, the 32-year-old central defensive option, are out injured as well. The Reds boss Jurgen Klopp, therefore, will bank on the ex-Southampton centre-back to take care of City attack.
Matip was not his best either this season but the inclusion of Virgil van Dijk has strengthened the Merseysiders defensively. The winter recruit from Southampton will now have to take added responsibilities in the heart of Liverpool back-line, but the unforeseen injury blow of Joel Matip might put the Reds in a real conundrum with their Champions League dreams as well as a Premier League ‘top four’ finish at stake.