LONDON: Liverpool defender Joel Matip has been cleared to return to action with the Premier League club after FIFA resolved the Cameroon international’s status on Friday (Saturday in Manila).
Matip recently claimed he had retired from international football and did not want to play for Cameroon despite their attempts to call him up for the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
As a result of the confusion over his availability, Matip was withdrawn from Liverpool’s squad from their last two matches against Manchester United and Plymouth while the club sought clarity on his eligibility.
But the Reds confirmed world governing body FIFA had told them there was no case against the center-back, meaning he can now be considered for selection by Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
“Liverpool FC can confirm that all charges against the club and its player Joel Matip have been dismissed by FIFA following confirmation this evening from world football’s governing body,” a statement on the club’s website read.
“The club had requested FIFA to provide guidance on Matip’s eligibility after a complaint had been made by FECAFOOT to FIFA concerning the player’s purported call-up to the Cameroon national team for the Africa Cup of Nations.
“Following FIFA’s ruling, the club now considers the player available for selection.”
However, as the decision came so late on Friday, it remains to be seen whether Matip will be involved in the squad for Liverpool’s league clash with Swansea at Anfield on Saturday.
Klopp had complained about the situation earlier on Friday after Cameroon refused to sanction Matip’s release because they considered the player to have rejected their approach to name him in their squad.
“It is difficult in this position because with the fixtures we have the at the moment we don’t have a lot of training time and you have to work with the team which could start in the next game, and when you’re not sure what to do with Joel he is not that involved,” Klopp said.
“It is another experience which you don’t need but we have to learn from it.
“I have respect for all what they are doing there (in the African Cup of Nations) in the most difficult circumstances.
“It is a great tournament. In the middle of our season makes it not too cool but that is not my decision.”