(Reuters) - Liverpool defender Joel Matip could return from his muscle injury sooner than expected, manager Juergen Klopp said as he ruled out the centre-back for Wednesday’s Champions League clash against Spartak Moscow.
Matip, one of Liverpool’s first-choice centre-backs, was expected to be sidelined for a month after picking up the injury in the club’s 3-0 Premier League win at Stoke City last week but Klopp is hoping the 26-year-old can make a quicker recovery.
“He has hurt his muscle. I don’t know how long exactly he’ll be out, but he’s definitely not playing Wednesday,” Klopp told the club’s website.
”A month? No, I don’t think so. But as always, it’s possible. We have to wait.
“But it’s possible that it will be shorter. We will see.”
In Matip’s absence, midfielders Gini Wijnaldum and Emre Can were part of a three-man defence in Liverpool’s 5-1 league win over Brighton and Hove Albion last Saturday and Klopp praised the duo for their adaptability.
”Emre needs to do that, like Gini can do that. They have to do it, we don’t have anybody else,“ Klopp added. ”I enjoyed it. It was like ‘wow, interesting’...
”It was clear it wouldn’t be perfect, but the boys were ready to cope with the difficulties of the new system.
“They did really well.”
Klopp’s side are unbeaten in the Champions League and top of their group ahead of their final group match against Moscow.
Liverpool, who are fourth in the league, host 10th-placed Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru