By Will Butcher
Joel Matip could return from injury in Liverpool’s Premier League showdown against Manchester United, according to a report.
The Liverpool Echo claim the 25-year-old will miss Sunday’s FA Cup tie against Plymouth and the Reds EFL Cup semi-final against Southampton, but could feature against Man United on January 15.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, Matip revealed that his ankle injury is close to fully healing after missing the last five of the Merseyside giants’ league and cup outings.
“[It’s] getting better and in a few days I hope I’ll be back in full training,” Matip said. “That’s the plan but you never know how it will go.
“It was my left ankle, a ligament was damaged. At the beginning it needed rest but after this I wanted to play too early. We are really positive and hope that this chapter is closed.”
The Cameroon international has refused to join his national side ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, which has sparked a bitter row between the two parties.
Now, the former Schalke defender is set to remain in Merseyside and could give manager Jurgen Klopp a huge boost against Jose Mourinho’s in-form United side.
Liverpool’s number 32 is considered Klopp’s first-choice centre-back after taking to life with the Premier League giants quickly, despite only moving to Anfield in the summer.
In his 14 appearances in a red shirt, Matip has helped Klopp’s side keep five clean sheets as well as scoring in the 4-2 win against Crystal Palace.
Matip will be forced to watch the sidelines against Plymouth before returning to training, as the Reds continue to fight for silverware on three fronts.
In other Liverpool news, this is the expected side to face Plymouth on Sunday.