Liverpool may play Joel Matip in FA Cup despite FIFA warning
What’s the story?
With FIFA’s impending decision on Joel Matip’s eligibility to play club football, Liverpool are reportedly considering playing the Cameroon centre-back in the FA Cup replay against Plymouth Argyle, despite possible sanctions from the football governing body.
Jurgen Klopp was forced to leave Matip out of the squad that faced Manchester United last week as FIFA failed to acknowledge the 25-year-old’s eligibility.
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Despite retiring from international football in 2015, Matip has been caught in quite a fix with the Cameroon national football team after choosing not to represent his national side in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations. This means that the 25-year-old is ineligible to play club football while his national team is still in the AFCON tournament.
Meanwhile, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, who considers Matip as the central figure in his defence, is extremely unhappy about not being able to play him for the entirety of January.
The Reds made contact with FIFA regarding the situation but were left in a fix after the governing body stated that Cameroon and Liverpool would have to resolve this dispute amongst themselves.
Matip, who joined Liverpool from Bundesliga side Schalke in the summer on a free transfer, made more than 250 appearances for the German side in his seven-year stint at the club before deciding on a move to England.
The heart of the matter
Due to the complicated situation Matip and Liverpool now find themselves in, Klopp must decide whether he wants to play the Cameroon man on Thursday and risk sanctions or just wait for FIFA to find a solution to the situation. The 25-year-old recently recovered from the ankle injury which kept him on the sidelines for well over three weeks but is now fit for first team action.
In case Cameroon does make it to the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, Matip would technically be ineligible to play for the Anfield club until the 10th of February which means he would miss the crucial tie between Chelsea and Liverpool on 31st of January, along with a potential six more important fixtures this month.
The situation involving all three parties is not as complex as FIFA are making it seem. Matip, having already acknowledged his retirement from international football, is technically free to play for his club. FIFA should be looking to put an end to this issue instead of lingering on rules and regulations.