Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool sure Matip in clear despite opting out of Cameroon duty

By Carl Markham

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.

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.

"The Cameroon Football Federation reserves the right to take action 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.

Liverpool believe there are no issues 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.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said: "I am happy about this, but the players make these decisions by themselves - there is nothing the club can do."

Belfast Telegraph


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