Matip injury leaves Reds with injury crisis in defence
Liverpool defender Joel Matip has been ruled out for up to six weeks after suffering a fractured collarbone, the English Premier League club said yesterday.
The 27-year-old centre-back sustained the injury in the closing stages of Wednesday morning's (Singapore time) 1-0 Champions League victory over Napoli and will now undergo surgery.
"Matip was taken to hospital following the fixture and further assessment deemed an operation is required," the club said in a statement.
"Early indications suggest the centre-back is facing a spell of up to six weeks out of action, though that is dependent on how Matip responds to his treatment and rehabilitation."
Matip could miss at least eight matches, starting from Sunday's clash with Manchester United at Anfield.
The Cameroonian could also sit out matches against Arsenal and Manchester City as Liverpool look to hold on to top spot.
With Joe Gomez already out due to a fractured leg, it leaves manager Juergen Klopp with only Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren as senior centre-backs heading into a packed English festive fixture schedule.
The Reds have coped well so far, going unbeaten in the league after 16 matches.
Liverpool's solid defensive displays and steadily improving attack have raised hopes among fans that they might emulate Arsenal's "Invincibles" of 2003/04, who lifted the title after going through the season undefeated.
But midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum says Klopp is making sure his team doesn't believe their own hype.
"I don't really think we are invincible and, if we think that, we have a manager that would put both feet on the ground," said Wijnaldum.
"We know we have to do a lot to not lose games and even more to win them.
"We know we have to give a good performance every week to continue the run we are in."
The Dutchman added that his side would not underestimate United, who have won just two of their last seven matches.
Said Wijnaldum: "It is going to be difficult.
"Things can happen, everyone can have a bad season... last season, with the same players, they finished second.
"One season goes well, one season a little bit more difficult.
"It doesn't mean they have a bad team.
"They have good players, a good manager, and they know how to manage games and win games - or not to lose games." - REUTERS