Blow for Liverpool as Matip set to miss Brighton trip
Liverpool will be without first-choice centre back Joel Matip when they visit Brighton and Hove Albion in the English Premier League today, their manager Juergen Klopp said.
Matip returned to the side for last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea after missing the two previous games with a thigh strain, but picked up a muscular injury in Liverpool's 3-0 win at Stoke City in midweek.
"It looks like Joel Matip is out," Klopp said at the Reds' news conference yesterday.
"After the game, he had a problem, he felt something muscle-wise, we have to make a final assessment but it doesn't look like he's available for tomorrow."
Matip's unavailability could leave fifth-placed Liverpool short of cover in central defence as second-choice Ragnar Klavan has been ill.
The situation raises the possibility of Klopp moving Joe Gomez to the centre for the first time this season.
Gomez put in an impressive display at centre back for England against Brazil in a friendly last month, but has been deployed exclusively at right back by Liverpool this season.
"Ragnar Klavan was ill, hopefully, he isn't any more especially when you think about Joel Matip's situation. So, it's not that we have a big choice to make in defence," Klopp said.
BRIGHTON A STRONG GROUP
Liverpool head to 10th-placed Brighton having won four of their last five league games.
However, the promoted side are enjoying life in the top flight and have not lost at home since a 2-0 opening day defeat by league leaders Manchester City.
"It's a really strong group of good players, good new signings," Klopp said of today's opponents.
"Together with the manager (Chris Hughton), obviously, it fits really well together. They are not a counter-attacking side or a long-ball side only, but they have all this stuff.
"They have unbelievable quick wingers for the counter-attacks, they defend deep and together, they play long balls, but they play football as well because they have the skilful players for that, so it's a mix.
"It was very interesting to analyse to be honest... So we should expect it will not be easy for us. We are in a good moment as well so we should use that."
Liverpool defender Gomez will be hoping for a good result to kick-start a traditionally busy December period.
The Merseysiders also face a crunch clash against Spartak Moscow next week as they look to reach the knockout stage of the Champions League.
"It's going to be a make-or-break period in terms of challenging," Gomez said.
"What we want to try to do is capitalise on the points available and, hopefully, we can keep on a decent run and get as many as we can.
"That momentum and confidence can carry you through, and it just means more points are up for grabs." - WIRE SERVICES