Joel Matip returns to light training after ankle injury

29 April 2021 11:30

Liverpool centre-back Joel Matip has stepped up his recovery from an ankle injury which was expected to end his season.

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both out with serious knee injuries, the Cameroon international was Liverpool's last healthy centre-back when he went down in January, and scans eventually confirmed that Matip was likely to miss the remainder of the campaign as well.

Matip is making good progress | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Recovering from such a nasty injury will take time, but in photos posted on the club's official website, it looks like Matip is making real progress as he was back outside running with no obvious support to his injured ankle.

His individual session came alongside Liverpool's regular first-team session, with the 29-year-old obviously not ready for a return to full-contact training, but it is encouraging to see Matip making positive progress.

Whether he will be fit enough to make a comeback before the end of the season remains up in the air. There is a significant difference between being able to run and being able to play competitive football, and someone with Matip's injury record will command extra caution as well.

As noted by the Liverpool Echo, the club's medical staff will also put Matip through a specialised programme which has been designed to help the centre-back avoid the niggling injuries which have plagued his time at Anfield.

It looks like Matip's short-term future has been sorted, but there remains some doubt over whether the defender will actually ever play for Liverpool again.

In Matip's absence, Liverpool struck a deal to sign Schalke defender Ozan Kabak on loan in January, and the Turk has impressed enough that club officials are expected to trigger the £18m option to buy him permanently in the summer.

Kabak has impressed in Matip's absence | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

That comes alongside the deal to sign RB Leipzig powerhouse Ibrahima Konate, who is expected to cost around £30m.

With both Van Dijk and Gomez expected to return for Liverpool during pre-season, Matip may enter the campaign as the fifth-choice centre-back at Anfield, which explains why rumours over a possible exit from the club are swirling.

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Source: 90min