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Klopp confirms Joel Matip will not be going to AFCON

Klopp confirms Joel Matip will not be going to AFCON

Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has confirmed that his Cameroonian defender Joël Matip will not be going to the Africa Cup of Nations next January.

The 25-year-old has decided to choose club over country and turned the opportunity to represent the Lions in Gabon next January.

Matip has represented his country 27 times, scoring once against Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, but his last appearance came in September 2015 against Gambia, which the Lions won 1-0.

“We actually had this talk a few weeks ago already, so I was not surprised [by the news],” Klopp said in his pre-West Ham press conference.

“Of course, I am happy about this, there is no doubt, but the players make these decisions by themselves – there is nothing the club can do.

“For Joel it is different because he has grown up in Germany and all that stuff, so that’s different – that’s always different and there are a few players like this – and so he decided this for himself and that is good for us,” the German concluded.

It’s worth mentioning that Liverpool are set to lose Sadio Mane to the Africa Cup of Nations, as the 24-year-old will travel with the Senegalese national team to Gabon next January.

Cameroon was drawn in group A alongside hosts Gabon, Burkina Faso, and Guinea-Bissau, and their first game will be against Burkina Faso on January 14.

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