The Hard Tackle puts forward the daily digest of all the news surrounding Liverpool Football Club.
Liverpool played out an embattled 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday night. It left Jurgen Klopp frustrated, especially after leading the fixture for almost the entire game, before Zlatan Ibrahimovic slotted in from close range to secure a point for the Red Devils in the North-West derby.
Matip could be out for a month
FIFA have clarified Joel Matip’s status and eligibility to play for Liverpool FC. As per Sky Sports, Liverpool could be set to lose Joel Matip for the whole duration of the African Cup of Nations, something which is sure to anger Klopp and the Kop army.
The governing body has iterated that Matip is likely to miss the whole of January, at the very least, if not more, unless Cameroon give their consent to the defender to feature for Liverpool. Matip has withdrawn himself from international duty a long time ago and stayed back despite Cameroon’s efforts to call him up for the AFCoN.
But with the whole thing seeming obscure, Liverpool decided to not include him in the lineup against Manchester United and instead ask for FIFA to clarify the status, rather than risking the prospect of sanction.
And now, FIFA have clarified that Matip’s ability to play for Liverpool during the period of AFCoN is at Cameroon’s perusal. If the African nation’s governing body do not give Liverpool the permission to field Matip, the player is set to miss the duration of the AFCoN plus an extra five days, as per FIFA rules.
Liverpool are already seven points behind league-leaders Chelsea and would not like Matip being unavailable, especially when the player is fit and ready to play.
Brooks Lennon set for MLS loan move
Liverpool striker Brooks Lennon is set to join MLS outfit Real Salt Lake to gain some regular first-team playing time under his belt to aid his development. The 19-year-old has made strides at Anfield but is yet to make his first-team debut for Klopp and his men.
Lennon is a United States Under-20 international who was snapped up by Liverpool from Real Salt Lake in 2015 after working their way around work-permit issues. And as the Echo reports, the striker is set to return to his former club for the duration of the 2017 MLS campaign.
Mkhitaryan reveals Liverpool snub
Manchester United summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan has opened up about his former manager Jurgen Klopp and revealed that the Armenian came close to joining Liverpool. The attacker said that he was courted by Liverpool during the reign of Brendan Rodgers.
But the player decided to join Borussia Dortmund instead, a move that has panned out brilliantly for the 27-year-old. Mkhitaryan also revealed that one of the reasons for snubbing Liverpool was that he doubted his own ability to cope with the physicality of the Premier League.
Well, the player has since weaved magic at the Signal Iduna Park and has subsequently, earned a ‘dream move’ to Manchester United, where he has now established as one of the key men in Mourinho’s plans after his early struggles.
But you are left wondering how it would have all panned out had the Armenian agreed a move to Liverpool in the first place. Perhaps the Liverpool fans would be happy because it paved the way for the rise of Coutinho.
Liverpool eye Domenico Berardi
Liverpool are reportedly primed to launch a summer move to bring Sassuolo winger Domenico Berardi over to Anfield. Berardi has been linked with a host of top European clubs including Juventus and Barcelona. And the Reds seem to have joined the long list of admirers.
Berardi is a highly prolific left-winger who is able to play across all the three forward positions and his versatility is perhaps one of the reasons for the piqued interest from Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side.
Berardi has been restricted by a nasty injury and the Reds would be monitoring his progress till the end of the season. The Italian international has been impressive for the Serie A outfit and his return to form could further inflate his asking price, which currently stands at €25 million.
Klavan praises ‘safe hands’ Simon and Coutinho
Ragnar Klavan talked to the media after the 1-1 draw against Manchester United and reflected on the positive takes for Liverpool from the match involving his teammates Simon Mignolet and Coutinho.
Coutinho returned to action as he came on late into the game but his display pleased the Estonian, who highlighted the Brazilian’s impact on the match, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“You could see straight away when he came on, with a couple of touches he created some really good opportunities. His quality is massive and everybody is delighted he is back on the field and he can help us.”
Ragnar also reserved praise for Belgian keeper Simon Mignolet, who has been impressive since being reinstated by Klopp as the club’s first-choice custodian.
“He has been amazing for us. He is always there for us when needed and he’s doing a brilliant job.”