FIFA are yet to decide whether to investigate Matip’s eligibility, after the centre-back opted not to join the Cameroon squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
Cameroon’s football association, FECAFOOT, have not recognised Matip’s retirement from international duty, and as such are seeking his suspension for the duration of this month’s Africa Cup of Nations.
This would keep him out against Plymouth, as well as further clashes with Swansea City, Southampton, Chelsea, Hull City and a potential fourth-round tie against Wolves.
But speaking to reporters at Melwood on Tuesday, Klopp revealed he was yet to decide whether to select Matip at Home Park despite the risk of a FIFA sanction—with the final decision his alone.
“That’s the good and the bad thing in my job. In the end nobody makes decisions for you,” he said.
“So yes, I will [consider him]. As you can imagine, we’re in a lot of talks. We did transfers quicker than this!
“That’s how it is, it’s already long term, but now it’s getting really intense from our side.
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“We’ve tried everything, we’ve tried everything, but in the end, I have to make the decision.
“It’s not about blaming anybody, but it’s not too easy to get in contact with the decisive people.
“It’s the president of the Cameroon football association, of course, and on the other side [Gianni] Infantino, from FIFA.
“Even though it’s clear he’s retired, what we need is a letter from the official side from Cameroon to say ‘OK, the player’s released and he can play for Liverpool’.”
The German continued to explain that he would have been happy to allow Matip to join the Cameroon squad for the tournament in Gabon, but the 25-year-old did not wish to take part.
Futhermore, he insisted that, due to Matip’s recent ankle injury, he would not have been fit for Cameroon’s first Group A clash with Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday evening anyway.
“We would have left him go. Sadio Mane plays for Senegal, it’s not as if we say Africa Cup doesn’t fit our plans, or whatever,” he continued.
“But my understand is it’s a free world, and if you don’t want to play for your national team, for different reasons, it should be possible.
“We can all make decisions, whole countries can leave the EU, nobody can say ‘no, you can’t’.
“Playing for the national team, in my opinion it’s the biggest thing for a player, it’s a wonderful, positive thing to play for the national team—if you want it.
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“But if you don’t want to, because of different reasons, [you shouldn’t have to].
“Especially in this situation, even if he said ‘I’ll play for Cameroon’, he would have been injured until five days ago.
“Now he’s in training, and because we play Plymouth now, not the highest intensity for a centre-half, that would make sense.
“But playing for Cameroon tomorrow, in a tournament game, that would have been really difficult. So that makes it all really too difficult to understand.”
Steering clear of an FA Cup shock is the order of the day on Wednesday, as Liverpool travel to Plymouth Argyle in their third round replay.
Plymouth Argyle vs. Liverpool
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 – 7:45pm (GMT)
Referee: Graham Scott
The fixtures keep coming thick and fast in January, as Liverpool work their socks off across three different competitions.
After Sunday’s tense 1-1 draw with Man United in the Premier League, the FA Cup takes centre stage on Wednesday.
The Reds were held to a goalless draw by Plymouth in the initial third round clash at Anfield – a day that will live long in the memory for the travelling Pilgrims.
Derek Adams’ men came to stifle Liverpool, and while their tactics were not easy on the eye, they fully merited their clean-sheet on Merseyside.
Having got Jurgen Klopp and his side back to Home Park, Plymouth will believe they can produce one of the great FA Cup shocks.
A potentially young Reds team will not have it all their own way in front of a boisterous home crowd, and a far better performance is called for than at Anfield.
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It will be interesting to see if Klopp relies upon a few more older heads, as he looks to avoid a humiliating result.
Whatever happens, it should be a fascinating battle in the south west.Last Time Around
The Anfield showdown on January 8th was the first meeting between Liverpool and Plymouth since 1962, but it didn’t exactly deliver a classic.
Plymouth were hellbent on defending for their lives throughout, and in fairness to them, they thwarted a Reds side lacking in ideas and intensity.
Both Woodburn and Ojo came as close as anyone to breaking the deadlock, but the eventual 0-0 scoreline was a disappointing one for the hosts.Opposition Q & A
We spoke to Beren Cross (@BerenCross), Sports Journalist for the Plymouth Herald, about the tie in general – here’s a snippet of the interview.
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Tell us a bit about Home Park as a ground, in terms of atmosphere. Will it be intimidating for the Reds?
It’s a largely modern stadium and perhaps not what many of the Liverpool supporters expect when they turn up. Three stands are filled in at the corners and are only the best part of 15-years-old. There is one free-standing stand, which you don’t see on the main television angle, which has been there for decades and shows its age.
It played host to Championship football less than 10 years ago, so it’s not the sort of fourth-division ground you would see at somewhere like Accrington Stanley or Morecambe.
The match will be a sell-out and there are going to be more than 14,000 home supporters. The atmosphere will be superb and I am sure the visiting supporters will play a big part in that.
I think it will be noisy from start to finish, whether Argyle are losing or not.
Read our interview with Beren in full here.Team News
With the visit of Swansea City on Saturday lunchtime lurking on the horizon, Klopp is sure to rotate his starting lineup against Plymouth.
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Roberto Firmino and Emre Can could both do with the evening off, having got through huge amounts of work of late, with James Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum also sure to benefit from a break, among others.
Nathaniel Clyne won’t be ready, having not featured against United on Sunday, while Joel Matip‘s involvement is up in the air, because of eligibility issues. Lucas Leiva could miss out through injury.
The exciting quintet of Gomez, Alexander-Arnold, Ejaria, Ojo and Woodburn should all begin proceedings, with Kevin Stewart another who will hope to slot into the midfield.
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Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Drew 1-1 vs. Man United
Lost 1-0 vs. Southampton
Drew 0-0 vs. Plymouth Argyle
Drew 2-2 vs. Sunderland
Won 1-0 vs. Man City
Plymouth Argyle – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 4-2 vs. Stevenage Borough
Drew 0-0 vs. Liverpool
Lost 1-0 vs. Barnet
Won 2-0 vs. Crawley Town
Drew 3-3 vs. Wycombe Wanderers
Klopp discussed the Matip situation, explaining that he’d like to start the centre-back but has no guarantee it’s allowed:
“We’re sure Joel Matip did nothing wrong. He hasn’t played for Cameroon since 2015.
“Since he’s here, he’s not been a Cameroon player. He’s not in the Cameroon squad, so he can’t play for Cameroon.
“But in this moment we have no 100 percent guarantee he can play for us. The last few days it’s getting more busy, for all departments involved for Liverpool.
“The procedure is that I would consider to line him up tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can.
“That’s the thing. From the sport side it would make absolute sense, the perfect game for him, but I’m not sure if I can.”UK TV Info
The match is live on BT Sport 2 from 7pm, with kick-off at 7:45pm.
As always, we will be running our matchday live blog (7pm-9:45pm), providing you with minute-by-minute updates during the game and plenty of content before the action gets underway.
If you’re unable to watch the match unfold, it’s certainly a good alternative.
Jurgen Klopp has suggested he could name a stronger starting team as Liverpool look to see off Plymouth Argyle at the second time of asking in the FA Cup on Wednesday night.
The unrelenting fixture schedule continues for the Reds, who attempt to overcome the Pilgrims in a third-round replay that is already their fifth game of 2017.
Klopp’s men were held to a frustrating goalless draw by the League Two club at Anfield, and a more professional display will be required as Derek Adams’ side look to use Home Park advantage to cause a cup shock.
Klopp fielded Liverpool’s youngest ever starting XI in the Anfield meeting, but having said “probably it will be different to the team we had in the first game”, a more experienced side could be named in attempt to ensure the Reds reach round four.
[embedded content]Liverpool’s XI vs. The Pilgrims
Klopp’s words that the Reds will “probably” be a “different team” in Devon suggests a stronger side featuring more senior players could be named.
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With Liverpool imminently facing a big week of Premier League and League Cup action, Klopp will want a more straightforward game at Home Park and a more experienced side could ensure that proves the case.
Within this, Matip could enter into a strong defence alongside Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and Moreno, if Klopp – who assessed Wednesday’s clash “the perfect game for him” – risks fielding the centre-back with Liverpool no clearer over his eligibility.
A more experienced midfield could see Henderson and Wijnaldum deployed with Ejaria, and Klopp could follow a similar route of youth supporting experience in attack.
Ojo could provide the youthful exuberance on the right side as at Anfield, but Coutinho – who is searching to improve his match fitness – could start on the left, with Sturridge leading the line, like so:
Despite being criticised in some sections for his selection in the Anfield tie, Klopp could show faith in his youngsters and name a similarly youthful XI in Devon.
The Reds defence won’t see too much alteration with options picking themselves, but if Klopp opts against risking Matip, and Lucas misses out with injury, Lovren could join Gomez at centre-back.
A more youthful centre could see Stewart, who would return to his holding role, and Ejaria joined by Wijnaldum.
Meanwhile in attack, Klopp could present young duo, Ojo and Woodburn, another chance to shine – keeping Wilson in reserve – while flanking the fresh and eager to impress, Sturridge.
A more experimental XI could look like this:
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A more testing game than at Anfield awaits on Plymouth’s home turf, and the Reds must produce a confident display to ensure it is they who book a fourth-round date with Championship side, Wolves.
- How to follow:
- Follow text commentary on the BBC Sport website, listen live on BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Merseyside
Plymouth striker David Goodwillie will not feature for the club after being involved in a civil case in Scotland.
The Pilgrims are also without Connor Smith after he was injured in Saturday's 4-2 win against Stevenage.
Liverpool keeper Loris Karius is set to start, but the third-round replay is likely to come too soon for injured pair Nathaniel Clyne and Lucas Leiva.
Right-back Clyne (rib) and midfielder Lucas (knee) both missed Sunday's 1-1 draw at Manchester United.
Liverpool are still unsure about centre-back Joel Matip's availability after being forced to pull him out of the match at Old Trafford amid a dispute with Cameroon's football association.
Klopp named the youngest starting line-up in Liverpool's history in the original tie at Anfield, seeing his side held to a 0-0 draw by the League Two promotion chasers.
The winners of Wednesday's replay will host Championship side Wolves in the fourth round on 28 January.Match stats
- Liverpool have won the FA Cup on seven occasions - only Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham have won more
- Jurgen Klopp's have lost just one of their past nine games, losing 1-0 at Southampton in their EFL Cup semi-final last week
- Plymouth have lost just one of their past nine games in all competitions, winning five and drawing three
The Swans take to Anfield for a 12.30pm kickoff (GMT), in what will be Liverpool’s third game in seven days.
Klopp will first lead his side out against Plymouth Argyle in their FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday night, a game in which he is expected to field another youthful side.
This will be partly enforced by injury, with Clyne due to miss out again, after his absence for Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United through injury.
The German has revealed Clyne has a “big chance” of returning for the weekend, with Trent Alexander-Arnold likely to take his place against the Pilgrims in the meantime.
“It’s getting better, with Nathaniel it was a muscle between the ribs,” he told reporters at Melwood on Tuesday.
“If anyone’s ever had a bruise in the ribs, [they’ll know] sometimes it’s better broken.
“Now we know after the scan, [there’s] nothing else. Each day helps him to settle, and get back on the pitch.
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“We’ll give him two or three more days then hopefully he’ll start running.
“He’s made nearly all the games since I’ve come in, and before that, so when the first second it’s possible, he’s out there. He has a big chance for Swansea.”
Lucas Leiva was also forced out of contention against United, due to a knee injury, and while the Brazilian is set to miss the trip to Home Park, Klopp also expects him back on Saturday.
“Lucas is similar, his knee was swollen, and when the knee is swollen that’s never a good sign,” he continued.
“But it’s on the better side of bad news, it’s only a bruise. But then you have to wait until swelling goes away.
“He’s very positive, so maybe he can be on the pitch today—I’m not sure.”
Beyond Clyne and Lucas, Klopp’s only injury concern at present is Danny Ings (knee), with the striker ruled out for the rest of the season.
Goalkeeper Adam Bogdan (ACL) is out for a similar period, but is not in Klopp’s plans.
Marko Grujic has returned to training following a tendon issue, but is yet to come back into contention for any of Klopp’s matchday squads.
Meanwhile, Joel Matip is embroiled in an eligibility dispute with Cameroon, with Klopp unsure as to whether he will be able to select the centre-back until FIFA decide to investigate the matter.
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Miss the news from Jürgen Klopp's pre-Plymouth Argyle press conference at Melwood this afternoon? Don't worry if so, because today's LFC round-up has got you covered.
Read on for the latest from the boss on Joel Matip and the injuries in his squad, as well as snippets from Philippe Coutinho, Loris Karius and more...
Our top three stories...
Matip was top of the media agenda today, and Klopp gave a comprehensive response upon being asked about the centre-back's availability.
The fitness of Nathaniel Clyne and Lucas Leiva was also discussed after the duo missed Sunday's draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford - and it was positive news from the manager.
Elsewhere in his press conference, Klopp revealed that Karius is likely to start in goal at Home Park and indicated U23s captain Harry Wilson may be in line to make his first-team debut.
Click here for a full rundown of the other topics covered by the boss.
Speaking of Karius...
We sat down for a chat with the German goalkeeper at Melwood yesterday.
"Now I'm back playing at my normal standard," he told Liverpoolfc.com.
"I'm not surprised that I can play like this, because that's my aim and what I expect from myself."
Free video: Watch Karius make two excellent saves against Southampton
Phil on Liverpool's 'big objectives'...
Coutinho is back in the first-team picture after six-and-a-half weeks out with an ankle injury, and the No.10 has spoken about how the Reds can achieve their targets for the rest of the season.
"We have to keep working together because the season is very long. We have big objectives to realise this season," said the Brazilian.
On social media...
Coming up on Liverpoolfc.com on Wednesday...
We'll have more from our interview with Karius, who discusses the task awaiting the Reds at Plymouth, while we'll also provide all the build-up, coverage, action and reaction from Home Park, with kick-off scheduled for 7.45pm GMT.
Last Updated: 17/01/17 11:26pm
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (centre) congratulates Plymouth's players at full-time
Loris Karius is set to return in goal in place of Simon Mignolet for Liverpool's FA Cup third-round replay at Plymouth.
Having deputised for Mignolet in the initial third-round tie at Anfield, which finished goalless, and subsequent EFL Cup semi-final first leg at Southampton, Karius was named among the substitutes for Liverpool's 1-1 draw at Manchester United.
But Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is poised to recall Karius for the trip to Home Park, where the Merseysiders try to avoid a cup upset to their Sky Bet League Two opponents who are 66 places below them in the English football pyramid.
The Pilgrims are expected to pocket more than £1m in revenue from their glamour replay against the seven-time FA Cup winners.
Ben Woodburn (centre) has an effort on goal for Liverpool against Plymouth
With a home, televised fourth-round tie against Wolves the prize for the victor, things could prove even more lucrative for Derek Adams' side.
Plymouth will be without former Scotland striker David Goodwillie as the club considers a court judgement on the player.
Defender Nathaniel Clyne (rib) and midfielder Lucas (knee) are making good progress but the game at Home Park will probably come too soon.
Liverpool remain uncertain over the availability of defender Joel Matip having been forced to pull him out of Sunday's game at Old Trafford amid a dispute with the Cameroon national side.Matip ruling frustrates Klopp
Jurgen Klopp says Joel Matip's Liverpool absence 'hard to accept'
This will be Plymouth’s 11th FA Cup replay against a top-flight side, while they are yet to win any of them (D2 L8).
Liverpool have not lost any of their last 19 FA Cup games against teams from the fourth tier or lower (W15 D4).Watch highlights of Liverpool's draw at Manchester United on Sunday
Plymouth faced 28 shots at Anfield, while taking just four of their own.
The Reds have progressed from three of their last four FA Cup third round replays, losing only against Reading in January 2010 (1-2).
Charlie Nicholas prediction
I honestly do think Plymouth can cause an upset here. They were in good form at the weekend, putting four past a Stevenage side which have been fairly handy on the road this season.Watch highlights from Plymouth's 4-2 win over Stevenage at the weekend
I think Klopp will make loads of changes again to his tired-looking side. Liverpool are in need of a rest and I think he’ll prioritise the EFL Cup and play a similar side to the one which failed to get the job done at home.
Charlie predicts: 2-1 (28/1 with Sky Bet)
Plymouth Argyle manager Derek Adams has mocked Man United’s long-ball tactics against Liverpool, ahead of Wednesday’s FA Cup replay.
Argyle welcome the Reds to Home Park for their third-round replay on Wednesday night, hoping to spring a surprise on their Premier League opposition and reach the fourth round.
There they would take on Championship outfit Wolves, in what would be another lucrative home clash for the Devonshire side.
Speaking ahead of the replay, Adams joked that he would take inspiration from United’s cynical approach against the Reds in Sunday’s 1-1 draw, saying: “We’re going to sign Fellaini and hit it long.”
“We have to defend very well again. I think that we’ve shown in the first game that we can do that, and we’ll have to do exactly the same,” he explained.
“I can’t see that we’re going to be too cavalier on our approach. We’ve got to show respect to the Premier League team.
“They’re third in the top flight and we’ve got to be careful of that.”
This should come as no surprise to Liverpool, following Argyle’s deep defensive display at Anfield in the initial 0-0 stalemate, with the Reds enjoying 76.9 percent of the possession.
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It will be another test of the Reds’ resolve, and this will be particularly challenging given Jurgen Klopp is likely to field another youthful lineup.
Addressing reporters at Melwood on Tuesday, Klopp stressed that he wouldn’t blame Adams for taking a similar approach to that at Anfield, due to the gulf between the two sides.
“It was a really concentrated defensive performance. All the credit to Plymouth,” he said.
“I don’t know if the plan was to be that deep from the first second. We can’t wait and then do something, but there were possibilities to speed up the game.
“It’ll be fully booked, we’ll have a few there. The atmosphere will be good, they’ll try to push them.
“We’ll try what we tried to do against Man United, we’ll try to cool the atmosphere down.
“We can’t react on what they do. They’re allowed to defend: we’re a Premier League team, they’re a League Two team.
“They usually play different, but to go to the next round as a lower-league team you should concentrate on defence.
“If they open the space we’ll take it, but I don’t expect it.”
Unlike at Anfield, this time Klopp will be hoping for his side to capitalise on any chances gifted to them by Argyle’s stubborn back line.
But by the same token, he will need his defence to be focussed in order to deal with any hopeful balls lofted forward by the home side—or risk another frustrating result this month.
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Yan Dhanda has revealed his superb winning goal in the mini-derby against Everton was a result of studying the way Adam Lallana times his runs into the penalty area.
The 18-year-old struck with his left foot five minutes from time to seal a 2-1 victory for the U18s over their rivals at Finch Farm on Saturday.
The goal owed much to Dhanda’s perfectly timed run into the box and expert finish, after excellent link-up play between Glen McAuley and Rhian Brewster.
Dhanda admits it was a sweet moment on a personal level, seeing his extra work on the training field pay off.
“It’s a good feeling and there’s no better feeling than scoring a goal, especially against Everton away from home” Dhanda told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I’ve been working on arriving late in the box because it’s hard to be picked up when you come in late.
“I’ve been watching clips of Lallana doing it and I’ve been practicing it in training running in on the back of the defender.
“I fancied my chances and luckily it fell to me and I scored."
LFCTV GO: Dhanda nets the winner in the mini-derby
The former West Bromwich Albion youngster went on to describe how Lallana is an inspirational figure for him.
Dhanda has trained alongside the England international at Melwood this season and believes he is the perfect role model to learn from.
“I really do look up to Lallana especially playing in this position because he has so much energy," he added.
“He’s a real main player in the Liverpool first team and I’ve been watching loads of clips on him recently and I try to base my game on him now I’m playing in the middle of the pitch.”
The win over the Blues was also a proud day for Okera Simmonds, who registered his first goal at U18 level with the opener.
Dhanda said: “Okera has been working so hard in training and I was so happy for him.
“Every day he has been working hard to get himself into the team and for him to score it was great for him and for us.
“We never thought it was going to be an easy game, especially when you play Everton away from home.
“Through the week we were working on different ways of playing because you can’t always play pretty football and I thought we got the balance right on Saturday.”
The derby win was the perfect way to prepare for Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup fourth round tie at Manchester City.
Dhanda says the team are in good spirits as they head into that clash on a 12-game unbeaten run.
He said: "The win over Everton has given us a lot of confidence because we showed we can play a different way as well as the way we normally play at home.
“All of the lads are buzzing ahead of the FA Youth Cup game and we can’t wait for it now.
“They have got good players, we have got good players so I think it will be down to who wants it more on the day and who can take their chances.”
Jürgen Klopp previewed Liverpool's FA Cup replay against Plymouth Argyle at a press conference on Tuesday – see what the manager had to say on LFCTV GO.
A goalless draw at Anfield earlier this month means the two sides must meet again at Home Park to decide on a place in the fourth round.
Ahead of the game, Klopp spoke to reporters at Melwood about facing the League Two side, the condition of his squad and more.
LFCTV GO subscribers can click play above to watch the press conference in full. Click here for details on signing up.
Loris Karius will start in goal for Liverpool when they face Plymouth Argyle on Wednesday, while promising Academy winger Harry Wilson could make his first-team debut, Jürgen Klopp has revealed.
The Reds head to Home Park tomorrow looking to reach the next stage of the FA Cup at the second attempt, after an initial third-round meeting with the Pilgrims at Anfield earlier this month ended goalless.
When asked if Karius could return to action between the sticks down in Devon after tending goal in the sides' first clash, Klopp replied: "If nothing happens, yes, then Loris [will play]."
The German also spoke about the possibility of yet another young player making the step up from the Academy in Kirkby to the senior squad.
U23s captain Wilson was absent from their narrow defeat to Manchester United on Monday evening, and has recently trained at Melwood under the eye of Klopp and his coaching staff.
The Reds boss added: "Harry Wilson is a wonderful young player, that's how it is, in a few moments, I was impressed.
"I have no line-up but, in our situation, we had to keep a few players out of the game [against United] yesterday but obviously that didn't help, so apologies to the U23s! Again, my fault.
"We need to have the choice of what we can do and he is part of all our thoughts for this game and we will see."
LFCTV GO: Watch Klopp's Plymouth preview in full
With Plymouth's visit to Anfield coming at the end of a packed festive fixture list, Klopp named the youngest starting XI in the club's history in a bid to keep the more senior members of his squad fresh.
The 49-year-old suggested he is likely to name a different line-up this time around, but says he will have faith that whatever team he puts out can claim the win.
"We have, in general, a very young team. I said before the last game we had a lot of good reasons to line up like we did and it will be same case for Wednesday, we will have good reasons for the line-up," he explained.
"The first and best reason is we want to win the game and want to go to the next round of the FA Cup. We will see.
"Probably, it will be different to the team we had in the first game but that's not 100 per cent sure so we have to wait a little bit. It will be good."
Liverpool rained in 28 shots on the Plymouth goal when the teams first met, but were unable to break down their opponents' deep defensive line in order to avoid a replay.
Klopp is unsure whether Derek Adams' team will approach Wednesday's game differently, but says he has spoken with his squad about ways to improve on their last performance in this competition.
"I heard a lot of things after the game but it was really a concentrated defensive performance and we couldn't come through, so all the credit for Plymouth," he continued.
"I don't know if the plan from the first second was to be that deep or not, but it's up to us.
"We cannot wait until they do something and try to make a counter-attack but there are possibilities to speed up the game, we didn't use them in the first game.
"We spoke already about it and the game will be different. I think 14,000 supporters there and they made already here a kind of noise so the atmosphere will be good, they will try to push them.
"We have to do what we did to Manchester United – to cool the atmosphere down with the way we play, that's what our main target is for this game.
"We cannot react to what they do. They are allowed to defend with all they have, because we are a Premier League team and they are a League Two team.
"Usually, they play differently, they are a top team in League Two. But to go to the next round, as a lower-league team, you should concentrate on defence, that absolutely makes sense.
"If they open the space, we'll take it, but I don't expect it."
Jürgen Klopp has provided an update on the situation of Joel Matip, as Liverpool FC continue to seek clarity on the defender's current eligibility.
The No.32 was withdrawn from selection for Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester United, and the manager addressed the issue at his pre-Plymouth Argyle press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“There were not a lot of times in my life I was in a situation like this, actually, not even in a similar situation,” said Klopp.
“I don’t want to blame anybody – that’s important – but I think our supporters, for sure, need to or deserve to know about the process we are in.
“In this moment, we are sure – not we only think, we are sure – we did nothing wrong. We are sure Joel Matip did nothing wrong. He didn’t play for Cameroon since 2015, [which] means since he [has been] here, he was not a Cameroon national player. He’s not in the squad of Cameroon in this moment, so he could not play for Cameroon, for sure, because he’s not in the squad.
“But in this moment, we have no 100 per cent guarantee that he could play for us. That’s the situation.
“The last few days – not only the last few days, maybe more the weeks – but in the last few days it’s getting more and more, really busy. All departments were involved from LFC.
“The procedure is that I would consider to line him up tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can, that’s the thing. From the sports side, it would make absolute sense, [it’s a] perfect game for him and all that stuff, but I’m not sure if I can.
“The thing is that FIFA told us that on Friday, this Friday, they will decide if they open a case about it or not. I accept rules in life, wherever, but I think they should always be based on human sense.
“For me, not as a lawyer, not a legal person, it’s pretty difficult. We have a running season and if he wouldn’t have been injured – but he was, obviously – then he couldn’t play since January 2. If we go to Friday and if FIFA opens a case then – I don’t know, [but] I don’t think they will because we are really sure everything is alright – then it would be, they already told us, between seven and 10 days until we get a decision.
“In England, in our situation, that would mean United involved, Plymouth involved, Swansea involved, then another seven days, another two games. It’s kind of, from January 2, eight games or something. At the end, if the result is what we think it will be – even if they open a case – and everything is OK with Joel, then he didn’t play eight games, or let me say four because he was injured before, without doing anything wrong.
“And as a human being, it’s unbelievably hard for me. We conceded an offside goal at Manchester United and it doesn’t feel good, but I’m kind of used to it – sometimes you score an offside goal and sometimes you concede one. It doesn’t feel good, but it is like it is. But, in this case, we cannot do more, obviously, and that’s really hard.”
LFCTV GO subscribers can watch Jürgen Klopp's pre-Plymouth press conference in full below. Not yet a subscriber? Find out more here.
Watch Jurgen Klopp‘s full pre-match press conference ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup third round replay against Plymouth Argyle.
Klopp explained at length the frustrating situation with FIFA – and how the world’s governing body will open a case on Friday as to whether Matip is eligible to play, but then it would be another seven to 10 days before a decision was announced.
Elsewhere, there was praise for under-23s captain Harry Wilson, who is in contention for a place in Wednesday’s squad.
Nathaniel Clyne and Lucas Leiva are progressing well after missing Sunday’s draw with Manchester United due to injury, Jürgen Klopp has revealed.
Liverpool full-back Clyne was ruled out of the clash at Old Trafford with a rib/abdominal issue, while Lucas was absent because of a knee complaint.
But Klopp today provided an encouraging update on the duo, with the boss confirming that Clyne has a ‘big chance’ of featuring against Swansea City on Saturday and saying Lucas feels ‘very positive’ about his fitness.
“It’s getting better. With Nathaniel, it was a muscle between the ribs. Everybody who has ever bruised their ribs knows OK, sometimes you think it’s better broken,” the boss said, at his press conference to preview tomorrow's FA Cup replay with Plymouth Argyle.
“It’s really painful, but now we know after a scan that there is nothing else and each day helps him to settle and get back on the pitch, if you want. So we give him for sure, we have to, two or three more days and then hopefully he can start running and all that stuff.
“He is, how everyone can imagine - he made nearly all the games since I’m in and before, probably, [he’s] one of the hardest we have so the first second when it’s possible he’s out there. He has a big chance, I think, for Swansea.”
On Lucas, Klopp added: “It’s similar to Lucas. His knee was swollen and that’s never a good sign, but in this case it was on the better side of the bad news.
“Again it’s only a bruise but then you have to wait until the swelling is away and wait for if something is coming back and all that stuff, and that’s what we did.
“He’s very positive, so maybe he can be on the pitch today, I’m not sure, we will see. If [he is], we will try to push it as hard as we can.”