The last thing Jürgen Klopp needed was an injury to another key defensive player but when Joël Matip hobbled off with an apparent abductor injury, the German is now back to the bare bones at centre half.
The Cameroon international was a key player throughout the first half as the Red’s dominated against West Brom. The Premier League champions had pinned back newly appointed Sam Allardyce’s side in the opening 45 minutes with a high line that saw Matip and Fabinho occupy in areas usually controlled by the midfield.
With the Baggies deploying a deep block it would take a moment of individual quality to break them down, enter Joël Matip. The home-side were creating chances and leaving little to no space for the visitors to counter attack and when Sadio Mané scored in the 12th minute, assisted by a sharp pass from Matip, it looked set to be a routine three points at home for the champions.
It was a well taken goal by the Senegalese winger but the pass by the former Schalke player was sensational. Due to the deep defensive line of Allardyce’s side, the central defender found himself in the opposition half and swiftly fired a first time pass from around 35-yards out to find the run of Mané. The forward controlled the ball excellently before striking a volley past Sam Johnstone.
The rest of the half would continue to be more of the same but Klopp’s team struggled to find that all-important second goal that would have killed the game. This would eventually come back to haunt them.
After the interval the Reds struggled to enforce there first half dominance once again as Allardyce’s side forced their way back into the contest. Liverpool had seemed to lose their tempo and energy which looked to have been caused by the set-up of the visitors, with West Brom being rewarded with an equalizer that would ultimately see them leave Anfield with a point.
Despite the equalizer in the 83rd minute, the most disappointing aspect of that second half was the withdrawal of Matip. Before his injury, the 29-year-old was perhaps his sides best performer. He had picked up an assist and the away side had rarely been able to threaten the goal. That all changed once he was substituted off the pitch.Embed from Getty Images
With the injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, it was key that the Red’s didn’t lose anymore centre backs to injuries. Unfortunately, with this injury to Matip, Jürgen Klopp’s central defensive woes have mounted once again. Surely this will force Liverpool into the transfer market for a new central defender in January.
Hopefully, the No.32 is able to return as soon as possible as Liverpool continue their league defence and as the table shows, the Merseyside club are currently in the driving seat.
Next up is a trip to Newcastle where it is expected for Thiago Alcântara to make his first appearance in the squad since the Merseyside Derby.
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