Liverpool handed massive injury boost ahead of West Ham clash - report
By Will Butcher
Joel Matip is set to return for Liverpool on Sunday after taking a step closer to recovering from an ankle injury, according to a report.
The 25-year-old defender took part in training during Liverpool’s training camp in Barcelona on Tuesday and is now expected to feature against West Ham at Anfield on the weekend.
The Daily Mirror revealed that the Cameroon international had been putting in extra hours on the training ground with fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer following his lay-off with a minor ankle problem.
Matip, a summer signing from Bundesliga outfit Schalke, has hit the ground running on Merseyside with a number of eye-catching performances at the back.
He was sorely missed on Sunday, as Liverpool’s defence capitulated to allow Bournemouth to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win 4-3 at the Vitality Stadium.
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Jurgen Klopp’s side have conceded just nine goals in Matip’s 13 league and cup outings, which is the same amount they have shipped in the three games without him.
Matip scored his first goal for Liverpool against Crystal Palace, and is now expected to start alongside Dejan Lovren on Sunday as they look to compound the misery on Slaven Bilic’s West Ham.
Three points in front of their expectant fans will see Liverpool move to within just one point of league leaders Chelsea, if the Blues fail to overcome West Brom at Stamford Bridge.
Football Insider verdict:
A return for Matip to the Liverpool side will come as welcome relief to manager Klopp, who played Lucas Leiva out of position at centre-back in place of his injured summer signing in the 4-3 defeat to Bournemouth last Sunday. Lucas has struggled to adapt at the heart of the defence. Although comfortable in possession, the Brazil international has been caught out by a number of Premier League attackers and is likely to be axed if Matip can complete a full recovery before Sunday. Matip’s pace, intelligence at the back and aerial ability has endeared him to the Liverpool faithful after a super start to life on Merseyside. Ragnar Klavan could also be considered by Klopp, but is likely to be overlooked after Klopp chose Lucas over him for the clash against Bournemouth.
In other Liverpool team news, fans have reacted on Twitter to the latest update on the fitness of this attacking duo.