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Joel Matip has yet to train with his teammates ahead of Sunday’s crunch between Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Red Devils edged out the Premier League champions to first place Tuesday night with a 1-0 win over Burnley. The pair will meet at Anfield on Sunday afternoon in what is billed as a potentially defining game for both sides.
Defending champion Liverpool hope to match United’s tally of 20 league titles this season, while the Red Devils have not been the best at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 2012/13.
Jurgen Klopp will clearly be interested in having as many players available for the derby as possible, but Matip remains a doubt with only a few days to go.
As reported by the Mirror, Matip has again participated in ‘specifically prepared sessions with physical therapists’ and is ‘running on grass’ while improving his physical form after an abduction strain suffered in the 1-1 draw with West Brom on Boxing Day. However, has not yet participated in the sessions with his Liverpool teammates.
The report states that Klopp would ‘need’ Matip to go through two group training sessions without a hitch to consider him available for selection.
Matip has, of course, been Liverpool’s only real senior center-back option for much of this season, after Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez suffered serious knee injuries last year.
Fabinho has substituted at the rear with poise, but Matip’s possible absence creates a selection dilemma for Klopp ahead of possibly his biggest league game of the season so far.
Rhys Williams (19) and Nat Phillips (23) have played a total of 390 Premier League minutes between them, while either would be seen as a risk, if unavoidable under the circumstances, against a team as dangerous as United.
Aside from Matip, the Reds still have Kostas Tsimikas and Diogo Jota ruled out for the game, as well as Gomez and Van Dijk, while Naby Keita is another question.