Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Diogo Jota is wearing a brace and still some way from returning to action after his knee injury but says there’s a chance Joel Matip could feature in Liverpool’s upcoming crunch match with Manchester United.
Jota had a barnstorming start to his Liverpool career following a summer move from Wolves, scoring nine goals in his opening 17 appearances, but the 24-year-old forward has missed the club’s last six games.
Fears Jota may require surgery were quickly quelled and the Portugal international has made significant strides with his recovery since being forced off away at Midtjylland on December 9.
However, at his press conference on Thursday, Klopp said the attacker was still ‘a few weeks away’ from being able to join up with the rest of his team-mates in full training.
‘It will still take time,’ he said ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup third-round tie with Aston Villa.
‘He is still wearing a brace which means he is still a few weeks away from team training so nothing really to say.
‘It takes time, there was no surgery needed.
‘It was a proper injury, not a little knock or something.’
Liverpool’s trip to Villa on Friday night also comes too soon for Matip, who has been sidelined with a groin issue since the side’s Boxing Day clash with West Ham.
Asked whether Matip could return to face Manchester United on January 17, Klopp replied: ‘We will try working on that.
‘Until the game we still have nine or ten days so we try.
‘He’s in a good way but if it will be United or a few days later I don’t know.
‘After the United game we obviously play every three days again so I think that’s pretty sure, the United game we will see.’
Liverpool have only got as far as the fifth round of the FA Cup under Klopp but the Reds boss insists he’s always taken the competition ‘seriously’ since taking charge back in 2015.
And the German is anticipating another ‘tough’ encounter at Villa Park after shipping seven goals at the stadium when the teams met in the Premier League earlier this season.
‘It’s important, the FA Cup. We didn’t go far so far,’ the Liverpool head coach added.
‘We’ve not blessed with sensational draws and now Villa is tough too.
‘We are professionals and the only thing we have to do is win. We try to do that.’