Joel Matip & Thiago to Miss Ajax Clash as Liverpool Call Up Academy Products

Oct 20, 2020, 8:30 PM GMT+1
Joel Matip
Joel Matip has not trained with the Liverpool squad | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Liverpool will be without Joël Matip and Thiago Alcántara for Wednesday's Champions League tie with Eredivisie giants Ajax.

Matip played the full 90 minutes against Everton at the weekend but was spotted heading to hospital on Monday after complaining of a muscular injury, while Thiago was injured late on after a nasty challenge from Richarlison which earned the Brazilian his marching orders.

Jurgen Klopp, Thiago Alcantara
Thiago was injured late on | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Speculation that the pair would be absent for Liverpool was rife early on Tuesday, and was subsequently confirmed by manager Jurgen Klopp in his pre-match press conference.

“We have a lot of players here but some not and Joel is one of the players we have not here,” Klopp said, quoted by the club's official website.“So, it was always clear after the history he had that it’s not likely he will start again after the 90 minutes at Everton. Now we left him at home but there’s a good chance that he could be involved at the weekend again.

“Thiago is not here, everybody knows that because you watch us travelling. I don’t know how long that will take; how I said, two players suffering from the weekend – Thiago and Virgil. And Joel, but for different reasons.

While losing Thiago is bad - Klopp has more than enough options to cope - the same cannot be said for Matip. With Virgil van Dijk ruled out for the foreseeable future, Joe Gomez is currently the Reds' only senior centre-back.

Klopp is now expected to deploy midfielder Fabinho as a centre-back. The 26-year-old has impressed whenever he has been needed in defence and could be set for a lengthy run in the position if Matip's injury is a bad one.

Academy defenders Nat Phillips and Rhys Wiliams are both set to travel to Amsterdam with the senior squad to offer some much-needed cover.

23-year-old Phillips spent last season in Germany's second tier with Stuttgart, while Williams spent the first half of the campaign in the National League North with Kidderminster Harriers, so an appearance in the Champions League would be an enormous step up for either player.

Rhys Williams
Williams has already played this season | James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Williams has already played twice for the senior side this season, lining up alongside Van Dijk in both of Liverpool's Carabao Cup games, so he may well be Klopp's first reserve. Elsewhere, Liverpool will also be without goalkeeper Alisson and midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlian, so they may be forced to get creative with his lineup against Ajax.

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