Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool confident Matip will avoid FIFA action over Cameroon exile

Liverpool are entirely comfortable with the situation surrounding Joel Matip's self-imposed international exile after Cameroon suggested they may seek punitive action from FIFA.

The centre-back, who has become a key figure in Jurgen Klopp's defence since his summer arrival on a free transfer from Schalke, has previously stated he has no interest in representing his country at the current time.

Matip has not played for over a year after a disagreement with the management and said as long ago as September he did not want to play in the upcoming African Nations Cup in Gabon.

On Tuesday Cameroon coach Hugo Broos identified seven players, of which Matip was one, who had made themselves unavailable for the tournament starting next month.

"Joel Matip does not want to play with the Lions at the moment due to a bad experience with the previous technical staff," he said.

"These players want to privilege their personal interest to the detriment of the national team, which some of them have already used for their development.

"The Cameroon Football Federation reserves the right to take action against these players in accordance with FIFA regulations."

Some have interpreted that as asking FIFA to suspend players for the period they should have been released, namely the duration of the tournament.

That is unlikely and Press Association Sport understands Liverpool believe there are no issues which are likely to affect Matip's availability over the coming month other than fitness, as the defender has missed the last two matches with an ankle injury.

Earlier this month manager Jurgen Klopp, speaking about Matip's continued exile, said: "I am happy about this, but the players make these decisions by themselves - there is nothing the club can do."

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