MX23RW : Wednesday, September 26 01:52:37

Joel Matip "ready" for Liverpool return

Liverpool defender Joel Matip declares himself fit to make his first appearance since March during the upcoming pre-season friendly with Bury.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip has said that he is "ready" to return to action following a lengthy spell on the sidelines through injury.

Matip has not featured for the Reds since March due to a thigh injury, missing the closing stages of the season including Liverpool's run to the Champions League final.

However, the Cameroon international believes that he is ready for a run-out during Saturday's pre-season friendly against Bury in order to take the next step in his recovery.

"If the manager decides [I can play] I would be happy. I think I am ready. Of course I am in full training but I think to get the real full fitness everybody needs a bit longer, me especially after a long injury, but we are all on a good way and me as well," he told the club's official website.

"You need this time on the pitch to be ready... I'm looking forward to these pre-season games, to get fit and get back to a good level. I spent a lot of time over the summer here in Liverpool to be ready and to get fit. Every football player wants to be fit, but especially after a season with a few injuries you want this more.

"It's a long way to go [until the first match of the season at home to West Ham] but I try to work on my own fitness and to be ready. You need sometimes the ball to get this feeling back, to know how you move again, to get self-confidence in your own movements. This needs some time, but I'm still looking forward to the new steps like playing friendly games. I am quite positive."

Matip could have a chance to cement a place in the team alongside Virgil van Dijk, with Dejan Lovren expected to miss the start of the season due to his prolonged involvement in the World Cup with Croatia.

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Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the fourth during the Premier League game between Bournemouth and Liverpool on December 17, 2017
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