Liverpool have been handed a massive injury blow as they enter one of the busiest periods of the Premier League season as Joel Matip was ruled out until the New Year with a thigh injury.

The Reds defender missed Liverpool's games against Sevilla and Southampton with the same injury, but played the full 90 minutes in their last two league games against Chelsea last weekend and Stoke City on Wednesday (29 November).

The defender is said to have suffered a recurrence of the injury after the game against the Potters and has been ruled out of the Merseyside club's trip to the south coast of England to face Brighton on Saturday (2 December). Matip's absence leaves Klopp with a defensive headache as Ragnar Klavan, who has stepped in during his absence, is just returning from a week out with illness.

The German coach only spoke about the Cameroonian's absence for the game against Brighton, but will be disappointed to hear the new assessment that will come as a big blow as Liverpool play nine games in the next 30 days. The results during the Christmas period will have a big impact in their challenge for a place in the top four of the Premier League.

According to the Daily Mail, Matip will return to action only in 2018 with the thigh muscle injury said to be much worse than first feared. The defender is said to have undergone tests at the club's Melwood training base, which revealed that the damage will keep him out for the next month.

Klopp does have an alternative in Joe Gomez, who can play at centre-back, despite featuring at right-back this season in place of the injured Nathaniel Clyne. The 20-year-old showed that he is more than capable of playing in a more central role with a man of the match performance during England's 0-0 draw against Brazil during the recent international break.

Joel Matip
Joel Matip has been ruled out for at least a month with a thigh muscle injury Getty