Jurgen Klopp to seek legal advice over Joel Matip case

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be consulting club lawyers over whether the inclusion of Joel Matip into his squad against Plymouth could expel Liverpool from the FA Cup.

The 25-year-old had already missed Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United after the Reds failed to get him clearance from FIFA to play for his club as the African Cup of Nations kicks-off in another continent.

Klopp said he was not “100% sure” of Matip’s availability.

“I have to ask [Liverpool’s lawyers] but the decision is for me to make,” the former Borussia Dortmund coach said in the pre-match press conference against Plymouth. “I could put him in the lineup. I don’t think the referee is going to say: ‘Stop, stop, you cannot go on the pitch.’ But I will do it when it’s OK from our point of view. Of course I need advice – I’m not a lawyer.”

Matip allegedly ‘refused to play’ for Cameroon after being named in their preliminary squad — and FIFA regulations dictate that a player may be blocked from playing for his club if he refuses to play for his country.

But as far as Liverpool is concerned, Matip was not selected in Cameroon’s final 23-man squad for the African Cup of Nations and has stopping playing for his country since 2015.

With FIFA set to make a decision on Friday whether Matip has a case to answer and, if so, Klopp admitted it could be “another seven or 10 days before we get a decision”.

If that is so, the player could miss six to eight games for Liverpool if he is not made available until the end of the competition.

This includes games against Swansea City in the Premier League on Saturday, the EFL Cup semi‑final second leg against Southampton and an FA Cup fourth-round tie at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers should they defeat League Two club Plymouth.

“I have to ask [Liverpool’s lawyers] but the decision is for me to make,” Klopp said. “I could put him in the lineup. I don’t think the referee is going to say: ‘Stop, stop, you cannot go on the pitch.’ But I will do it when it’s OK from our point of view. Of course I need advice – I’m not a lawyer.”

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