Liverpool sweating over fitness of Joel Matip ahead of crunch Man Utd showdown

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Joel Matip faces a race against the clock to be fit for Sunday’s crunch Premier League clash with Manchester United. Jurgen Klopp is hoping to welcome back the Cameroonian, who has been missing since the 1-1 draw with West Brom.

The defender picked up an adductor injury against the Baggies after making his return from a back problem that forced him off at half-time against Fulham.

As it stands, Liverpool do not have any fit senior centre-backs available following long-term injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.

Youngsters Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips are on standby and waiting for more opportunities while makeshift defender Fabinho holds things together.

Jordan Henderson slotted in during the 1-0 defeat at Southampton but Liverpool missed their captain’s drive in midfield.

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According to The Mirror, Matip is running out of time to prove his fitness for this weekend’s big clash at Anfield.

He is back on the grass at Kirkby but is yet to train with the first-team, meaning he is currently doubtful as things stand.

Klopp would need Matip to participate in at least two full training session before being considered for selection.

Liverpool are set to play virtually every three days in the coming weeks, therefore Klopp is unlikely to risk Matip if he is not fully convinced.

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The Reds boss issued an update on the fitness of Matip ahead of the FA Cup win over Aston Villa.

He said: “Yes, we will try working on that obviously. Until the United game we still have nine days around about, so we try.

“He is in a good way but if it will be United or a few days later, I don’t know.”

Despite Liverpool’s lack of availability at centre-back, the Premier League champions are unlikely to dip into the January transfer market.

The club are expected to wait until the summer before deciding whether to bring in another defender.

Liverpool decided against replacing Dejan Lovren last year after letting the Croatian join up with Zenit St Petersburg.

Dayot Upamecano is among the names under consideration but RB Leipzig are unlikely to sell the player this month.

The Frenchman’s £36million release clause comes into play next summer and Upamecano is also attracting interest from Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

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