Later News Feb 02

Liverpool bolster defence with two new centre-backs, but lose Matip for rest of the season

Flush from celebrating the acquisition of two new defenders, Liverpool fans were brought cruelly back down to earth with news that Joel Matip will miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.


The 29-year-old centre-back suffered the injury last week during the Reds’ 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur, following a challenge on Spurs forward Son Heung-Min.


Matip's absence leaves Liverpool's backline barer than the top of Fabinho's head, given that they already are without long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.


WATCH: Go behind the scenes as Van Dijk steps up recovery


“It was really unlucky because it was a brilliant challenge he made actually. He saved our life in that moment in the Tottenham game when he won the challenge against Son,” said Klopp.


“But he injured his ankle and played the game on and now is out for the season, so you can imagine how much he tried to stay on the pitch and tried to help us.”


Like a lovesick Juliet waiting for her Romeo to finish his National Service, Klopp added that they would patiently “wait” for Matip to return, even if it takes all summer.


“We will wait for him,” Klopp declared. “He has now the rest of this season, then the summer, then the pre-season to get ready again and he will be ready again.”


WATCH: Matip's superb run and finish in training


But, like a stereotypical NS WAG (Wife And Girlfriend), Klopp immediately went to get replacements to fill the Matip-shaped hole in his heart. Klopp, after all, has needs.


The two players Klopp chose as Matip’s replacement are 25-year-old from Preston North End, as well as 20-year-old Ozan Kabak from Schalke.


Incredibly, Schalke decided the best way to replace a promising defender like Kabak would be to sign Shkodran Mustafi on a free from Arsenal. Mustafi and Sead Kolasinac in the same team? Good luck trying to avoid relegation, Schalke.


WATCH: Mustafi takes on Kolasinac in trivia contest


Speaking about the loan signing of Kabak, an enthusiastic Klopp said: “He came very young to Germany and everybody was clear he was a massive talent.


“He is only 20 now. For him, I think it’s a really good moment to make the move because, like each player in the world, you need a stable team around you and that’s what we can deliver.


“He’s really a big, big talent and we are really looking forward to working with him.”


Klopp was equally enthused about the signing of Davies, who should not be confused with the Tottenham Hotspur full-back, nor the Singaporean-turned-Thai Fulham defender Ben Davis.


“We see the quality and we see the potential as well because he’s 25 and there’s a lot to come for him,” said Klopp. “I love a lot about his play. He’s a really good footballer, looks like a proper leader in this Preston team, is good in challenges, looks football smart, and can play different positions because he played in a back three and a back four and all these things. 


“That makes him really interesting so I’m really looking forward to working with him. I know for him it’s an opportunity and I see it exactly the same for us.”


Only time will time whether Davies and Kabak, who are still new to the rigours of top-flight English football, can plug the gaps in the Liverpool defence.


At the very least, Liverpool fans can console themselves that they did not succumb to temptation, and sign Mustafi.




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