The Cameroon defender intends to stay at Anfield in January – even if his national team manager isn’t happy about it.
Joel Matip has confirmed he intends to stay at Liverpool rather than represent Cameroon at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
The Reds centre-back has won 27 caps for the Indomitable Lions but hasn’t played for them over the past year with manager Hugo Broos recently bemoaning his decision not to accept a call-up.
Cameroon have qualified for the tournament which takes place in Gabon between January 14 and February 5, but Matip doesn’t intend to miss an important chunk of the Premier League season.
“I would say at the moment I will be concentrating on Liverpool,” Matip told the Telegraph.
“It is a long time until January so you never know, but that is the idea.
“Last year I had injury problems. The extra games and travelling were going to make it harder for me. I had to listen to my body and it told me that the international week was the right time to have a break.
“I spoke with the Cameroon manager and he was not happy, but I have to do what is right to be 100% and make sure I am not injured again, especially at an important time in my career starting at Liverpool.”
Matip faces the toughest test of his blossoming Reds career on Friday night when he comes up against combative Chelsea striker Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge.
“If an opponent tries to talk to me during the game, really, I don’t give a ****,” he added.
“I don’t think anyone is like Costa. It is always a fight against these big teams and you have to take on the battle.”