Liverpool still awaiting FIFA update on Joel Matip's eligibility, says Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool still awaiting FIFA update on Joel Matip's eligibility, says Jürgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp has revealed that Liverpool have still received no answer from FIFA today as they await a decision on whether defender Joel Matip is eligible to play for the club during the Africa Cup of Nations.

Charlie Malam

Jürgen Klopp remains hopeful Liverpool will receive clearance from FIFA on Friday for Joel Matip to start playing again.

The defender, who hasn't featured for the Reds since in over a month due to injury, has missed the last two games due to a lack of clarity over his eligibility while Cameroon take part in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Matip rejected the opportunity to represent his national team at the tournament in Gabon this month, having not played for Cameroon since September 2015.

With the Cameroonian FA adamant Matip should not be allowed to play for his club while they are involved in AFCON, Liverpool are stuck in limbo as they await the governing body's decision as to whether they will open a case on his availability.

If they request their disciplinary board to look into the matter, Liverpool could be forced to wait another 10 days for a decision - forcing him to miss at least another three games.

Still no update from FIFA, admits Klopp

Asked for the latest on the situation in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Swansea City, Klopp said: "No, I don’t have an update."

The German insisted that FIFA mentioned today "would be a kind of D-Day" for whether Matip would be allowed to play, adding: "It's now one o'clock here, which means in Switzerland it is two o'clock. No, nothing until now."

Klopp suggested that the club "do not feel it [the situation] is fair" but said that they "cannot change it" and "cannot turn it in our direction because we want it."

He added that for the club, it is "difficult in the specific position" because given their fixture schedule, "there is not a lot of training time" and "so when you have the training time you try to work together with the team that could start the next game."

"If you are not sure what you can do with Joel, he is not that often involved in these things," continued Klopp, admitting that "obviously makes sense" but is "of course not good."

He acknowledged that he has had to withdraw himself away from the situation "a little bit" in order "to be concentrated on other things", insisting he needs to apply "full concentration for other things" but said he remains "informed about everything" and that there "is no news until now."

While Klopp hinted that Matip has not been heavily involved in their preparations for Swansea, he could still be in contention to start provided FIFA give Liverpool the green light in time. 

It is nothing against AFCON, vows Reds boss

Klopp was keen to stress that he has no problem with the Africa Cup of Nations, although the club's top goalscorer Sadio Mane is also unavailable due to his involvement with Senegal.

Summer signing Mane has scored twice in two games so far to help his country through to the quarter finals with a game to spare. 

"We knew about AFCON before and it is the same for all teams with African players," said Klopp, who added added that the current situation is "another experience" which Liverpool "don't need" but simply "have to learn from."

He declared: "But it is not about the AFCON. I absolutely do not have a problem with the African Cup of Nations, it is the opposite. I have respect for all what they are doing there in the most difficult circumstances still."

He added that it is "a great tournament" although said it is "not too cool" that the tournament falls in "the middle of our season."

Klopp admits "mixed emotions" over Mane

On Mane, and the form he has continued to show, Klopp revealed that he sent him a text of congratulations but is currently experiencing "mixed emotions" at seeing such a key member of his Liverpool side playing for his national team instead.

He jokingly said that he sent the £30 million winger a text message insisting he was happy for him, but one which said "on the other side I could really kick you in the lower back!"

"They are through which is good. He played well again, scored again," Klopp continued, insisting "mixed emotions is probably the best description" but that "as long as he is fit, then we take it like it is and support Senegal."

If Senegal go on to reach the final, needing just two more wins to do so, Mane would miss another five games for Liverpool - including a massive head-to-head with league leaders Chelsea at Anfield.