Liverpool defender Joel Matip has opted not to join the Cameroon squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon in January.
The 25-year-old was reported to be considering ending his self-imposed international exile, holding talks with Cameroon manager Hugo Broos.
But Matip has ultimately decided to remain with his club side throughout January, continuing his spell out of the Indomitable Lions squad—his last regular run coming in mid-2014.
According to the Times‘ Paul Joyce, Matip has “reassured” Liverpool he will not be departing for Gabon on the turn of the year.
This serves as a major boost to Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, who is counting on Matip as a key player in his defensive line.
Matip is yet to suffer defeat in a Liverpool shirt, with his recent absence with an ankle injury coinciding with a 4-3 collapse away to Bournemouth in the Premier League.
The former Schalke defender, who joined on a free transfer in the summer, has added composure and intelligence to the Reds’ back line, and serves to be one of the bargain signings of 2016.
He has recently returned to first-team training, and is set to reclaim his role in Klopp’s starting lineup at home to West Ham United on Sunday afternoon.
This will likely see Lucas Leiva drop out, with Matip rejoining his regular centre-back partner, Dejan Lovren.
Matip’s stance ensures that only Sadio Mane will be missing when the Cup of Nations commences on January 14, with the winger set to miss up to six games.
This includes a crucial League Cup semi-final second leg at home to his former club, Southampton, with Liverpool looking to reach the final of the competition for the second season running.
However, Matip’s presence will increase their chances of triumph over the Saints, along with the resumption of their Premier League title bid, after a setback at Dean Court earlier in December.