Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has stated is it "difficult to accept" FIFA's decision not to give defender Joel Matip international clearance ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup replay with Plymouth Argyle. The Reds boss also confirmed at his press conference that 19-year-old Harry Wilson is in contention for the clash.
Klopp sought to clarify the club's position on a complicated matter, per Ian Doyle of the Liverpool Echo:
Matip was initially included in Cameroon's 25-man squad for the Africa Cup of Nations before stating that he did not want to play. He was then omitted from the final 23-man party.
"The Cameroon Football Federation have failed to confirm that Matip can therefore play club football during the period of the Africa Cup of Nations," Liverpool's statement read.
The centre-back, who has impressed when part of the Reds lineup, has not played for the national team since 2015.
Klopp outlined just how many games the player could miss as a result of the issue:
It means Matip is unlikely to be involved in Wednesday's clash at Home Park, which will be a vital game for the Reds.
Klopp fielded the club's youngest-ever starting XI in the original tie at Anfield, but Liverpool were left frustrated by an obdurate defensive display from the fourth-tier outfit.
However, the manager suggested there could be some more fresh faces involved, including Wilson, per the club's official Twitter account:
The pressure will be on Liverpool to turn over their humble opponents at what should be a raucous Home Park. Nevertheless, the Reds manager said there won't be too many changes from the team who were involved in the first meeting between the two sides.
"We had a lot of good reasons to line up like we did," he said, per Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror. "That will be the same on Wednesday. We want to win the game and go through. Probably, it will be different to the team we had in the first game—but that isn't 100 per cent."
The manager also offered updates on who will start at right-back and between the sticks for this trip to the south coast:
Naturally, in the aftermath of the 0-0 draw in the first meeting, much of the focus was on Liverpool's toiling youngsters, although Klopp took the opportunity to praise Argyle ahead of the replay and, even with a packed end to the month, said it's a match he is looking forward to.
"It was a concentrated defensive performance," the German said. "They deserve plenty of credit. It is up to us. We have possibilities to speed up the game, which will be different. The atmosphere will be good."
Additionally, Klopp was also asked about the plight of Manchester City and Manchester United after the results in the Premier League on Sunday, although he wasn't keen to discuss their prospects, per Tony Barrett of Joe.co.uk:
The frustration the Liverpool manager felt in regards to Matip is understandable, and his angst seems to stem from the uncertainty over whether or not he can play. Given the defender has endured recent injury issues, this kind of contest would have been ideal to help him rediscover full fitness, and it's evident some clarity is needed.
It is going to be fascinating to see what XI Klopp chooses, and many tied to the club will be excited about seeing Wilson potentially make his first-team bow.
The Liverpool manager will hope that a more ambitious Plymouth side on home soil will afford his players space to work their magic and negotiate a safe passage into the next round.