Jurgen Klopp has expressed his dissatisfaction with FIFA for the issues surrounding Joel Matip’s eligibility to play for the Reds.
Liverpool were left frustrated after arch-rivals Manchester United came from behind to snatch a draw in the closing stages of the game at Old Trafford on Sunday. One player who definitely could have made a difference to that result on Sunday was Cameroonian defender Joel Matip.
It was initially believed that Matip wasn’t picked for the match because of an ankle injury, but it has now emerged that the real issue was that Liverpool didn’t get clearance from FIFA to play the defender.
Matip turned down a national call-up from Cameroon for the African Cup of Nations (AFCON), but national manager Hugo Broos has now invoked FIFA sanctions. The world’s governing football body will investigate whether the player has been unduly influenced by his club, and if that is found to be the case, Matip will be ineligible to play for the Reds while the AFCON is being played.
The 25-year-old hasn’t played for Cameroon in over a year because of a dispute. When he joined from Schalke this past summer, Liverpool were under the impression that the central defender had retired from international football.
Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is frustrated by the Matip situation, and has now called for some clarity from FIFA, after watching his side throw away a good lead at the Theater of Dreams.
“Our understanding is Joël is retired from international football and we, the club, did everything we had to do to make this clear but until now we could not get the response we need to be 100 per cent sure that he can play,” said Klopp, according to the Guardian.
“It’s pretty difficult and pretty frustrating, to be honest. He’s been in training for five days and would have been in the squad, 100 per cent, maybe on the pitch today, so I don’t think it’s fair.”
Joel Matip has formed a good central defensive partnership with Dejan Lovren, and is a crucial first team player for Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool. The club would like to be able to play him as soon as possible, and they will surely do the utmost to prove their innocence and get the Cameroonian back into the side as soon as possible.