Joel Matip confirms his intentions to not leave Liverpool

Adam Brown

There’s sure to be celebrations tonight as Liverpool’s title bid has been given a huge boost with the confirmation that Joel Matip will not travel to the African Cup of Nations in Gabon. This will no doubt be a massive relief for Liverpool fans, as the defence has looked awful without the big Cameroonian.

We expect Liverpool fans’ reactions were something like this:

Meanwhile in Cameroon, his picture has probably made its way onto a number of dartboards in local pubs. However, other than a prime Samuel Eto’o, we don’t expect any of the Cameroonians to be accurate enough to land a dart on Matip – so he doesn’t have to worry too much.

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But really, they only have the Confederation of African Football to blame. Why plan a tournament in between all of your best players’ domestic fixtures!? Matip’s decision not to play isn’t the first, and it certainly won’t be the last.

With Africa’s Messi, Sadio Mane, looking likely to join up with Senegal over January, Liverpool fans can only hope that they are sharply eliminated. Not that we don’t want Sadio to do well, he’s just been amazing this season! But really, if fans could choose between Mane or Matip – they would probably take the latter when comparing Liverpool’s defence and attack.

The AFCON tournament has mainly been a nuisance to Arsenal and Manchester City fans in recent years – back when Adebayor was a fan favourite at the Emirates (Which seems a long time ago now!) or with the Toure brothers heading off to represent the Ivory Coast – the tournament simply gets in the way!

Although it is annoying when your teams players are taken away, the AFCON tournament is actually decent to watch in the midweek – their fans are quality. From vuvuzelas, drums and the rattling of maracas – the African fans create a great atmosphere and it’s excellent for football. Meanwhile in Europe, we have thugs chanting abuse and in some countries, launching fireworks onto the pitch – the European football fan culture could learn a lot from Africa’s.

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