Liverpool defender Joel Matip could return to action sooner than expected, according to Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
Matip missed Saturday’s 5-1 win at Brighton due to a thigh injury sustained in the recent victory at Stoke, and it was initially feared he could be sidelined for the entire Christmas fixture schedule.
The Cameroon international will not be back for this week’s Champions League clash against Spartak Moscow, and seems likely to miss Sunday’s Merseyside derby at Anfield.
“He has hurt his muscle. I don’t know how long exactly he’ll be out, but he’s definitely not playing Wednesday,” Klopp told Liverpool’s website.
“A month? No, I don’t think so. But as always, it’s possible. We have to wait. But it’s possible that it will be shorter. We will see.”
Klopp was forced to start with midfield pair Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can in a makeshift three-man defence at Brighton.
“Emre needs to do that, like Gini can do that. They have to do it, we don’t have anybody else,” Klopp added.
“I enjoyed it. It was like, ‘Wow, interesting’. We had 20 minutes in training and then we spoke for a little bit in the team meeting before the game again about it.
“But it’s not long. It was clear it wouldn’t be perfect, but the boys were ready to cope with the difficulties of the new system. They did really well.”
Liverpool take on Moscow on Wednesday at Anfield, before taking on Sam Allardyce’s Everton on Sunday, with the Toffees looking to win their third game on the trot following wins over West Ham United and Huddersfield.