Joel Matip is never going to make the list as one of Liverpool’s best players, but he is utterly vital to the squad just now.
The injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez mean that he is the only senior option who can naturally play at centre back, although you can argue that Fabinho looks perfectly suited to the position when he plays there too.
If Matip is out then it means one of the youngsters will need to fill in or Jordan Henderson may need to drop back into defence, so it’s far from ideal when approaching a top of the table clash with Man United.
READ MORE: Liverpool vs Man United team news: Multiple injury doubts on both sides with defence a real concern for Jurgen Klopp
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tends to play for a 0-0 against the good teams so perhaps they won’t come under a lot of pressure, but United do have quality and pace going forward so this isn’t the time for unproven players or a makeshift back line.
Matip’s fitness has been a major worry all week as it’s not clear if he will be able to play on Sunday, but the latest updates suggest he might just make it:
Will Matip feature at the weekend? Klopp’s keeping his cards close to his chest ? pic.twitter.com/3iLa3NNr0p
— CaughtOffside (@caughtoffside) January 15, 2021
It sounds like it could even be a decision that has to be made on the day of the game, but it would be a huge boost for Liverpool if he is fit and able to play.