Jürgen Klopp: Joel Matip could be included in squad to face Crystal Palace
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Jürgen Klopp: Joel Matip could be included in squad to face Crystal Palace

Liverpool's manager has confirmed there is a possibility that Joel Matip could be available for Monday's trip to Selhurst Park.

Joshua Kerr

Liverpool defender Joel Matip could be available for selection for Monday night's fixture against Crystal Palace following a muscle injury he sustained on during pre-season in International Champions Cup tie defeat to Borussia Dortmund in Charlotte on July 22.

The Cameroon defender returned to full training this week and even featured for an hour in a behind closed doors fixture at Melwood that included several members of the Liverpool squad.

However, the Reds will be without Dejan Lovren who is still recovering from a pelvis problem whilst fellow centre-half Ragnar Klavan completed his move away from Merseyside - leaving Liverpool for Serie A side Cagliari

Klopp spoke about Matip's current fitness levels in a press conference on Friday, the German boss stated: “Joel is close to being back. Hopefully he is able to be in the squad on Monday, so then we will have him.

“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.”

Gomez continues to impress 

Liverpool will travel to the capital with a number of centre-backs absent for the Reds first away trip of the season.

However, Klopp believes his side are more than adequately equipped to face the Eagles on Monday with Matip returning to the first-team picture alongside the winning partnership of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez who both started in the Reds 4-0 victory against West Ham United on the opening weekend.

Gomez delivered an assured and mature performance in his preferred centre-back role, and the Englishman flourished with the pressure on to impress his manager with World Cup finalist Lovren also waiting in the wings to return to first-team action.

Regularly featured at right-back for the majority of the previous campaign, Gomez never really had the opportunity to make a statement in the middle of the back four, and with so many first team members absent, it's unlikely the England international will have a better chance to establish himself as regular starter in Klopp's side.

“I was never in doubt about Joe and his ability to play at centre-half, but he needed time after a long injury,” said Klopp. “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.”

The 21-year-old defender is expected to start for the Reds against Roy Hodgson's side on Monday and it could be another vital opportunity to make a case for himself as Liverpool's potential long-term centre-back partner to Van Dijk.