Richard Hughes could make unpopular decision on Liverpool defender's future

There is 'increasing noise' that Liverpool defender Joel Matip will not be offered a contract extension, with his deal expiring this summer.

The 32-year-old is one of Liverpool's longest-serving first-team players, having joined on a free transfer from Schalke in the summer of 2016.

Matip has made 201 appearances for the Reds over the last seven-and-a-half seasons, becoming an important and much-loved squad member in the club's modern successes.

He started the 2023/24 campaign strongly, making 14 appearances until the start of December when he suffered a ruptured ACL in the 4-3 win over Fulham.

That injury and subsequent surgery has ruled the centre back out of the rest of Liverpool's season, while his future beyond the summer remains up in the air.

Last year, Jurgen Klopp seemed to hint that Matip could be offered a contract extension, despite his serious injury, insisting Liverpool will show 'class' in the situation.

"I'm pretty sure the club will show their class, just as they should," the manager told reporters. "I'm pretty sure they have told Joel already whatever happens, as long as he's injured everything's fine, and now we have to make a decision with Joel how it looks after that.

"That's a normal thing to do but he deserves all the support from us, and he will get it. I would say so [that he deserves a new deal], but it's not my decision. I cannot sign the papers."

However, while Matip's future is unclear, Klopp's has been decided, with the manager leaving Anfield at the end of the campaign.

Now there are reports that Matip may have already played his final game as a Liverpool player.

France - Toulouse FC vs Liverpool FC - 09/11/2023 FRANCE, TOULOUSE, NOVEMBER 09. Joel Matip of Liverpool during the UEFA Europa League group E football match between Toulouse FC and Liverpool FC on November 09, 2023 at Stadium Municipal in Toulouse, France. Photo by Manuel Blondeau/ AOP.Press Toulouse Stadium Municipal Occitanie France Copyright: x ManuelxBlondeau/AOP.Pressx AOP20231109 096

The Daily Mail reports that "there is increasing noise" that Matip will not see his contract renewed, with the club, under the direction of incoming sporting director Richard Hughes, expected to recruit new defenders this summer.

It is added that the rise to prominence of 20-year-old academy graduate Jarell Quansah has "done Matip’s hopes of a new deal no favours".

Liverpool legend

Matip, who was recently filmed by teammate Mo Salah doing gym work again at Kirkby after his surgery, remains a hugely popular figure at Anfield among both players and fans.

Salah called the defender a 'legend' in the recent social media post, while an X (Twitter) page dedicated to Matip's antics by the name of No Context Joel Matip famously has over 150k followers.

Speaking last year, the former Cameroon international suggested he would be happy to finish his career at Liverpool.

When asked about his plans, Matip told Sky Germany: "I'm at an age where I don’t worry so much about the future anymore.

“I try to make the most of every day and don’t look too far ahead. If in the end it was just these two clubs [Schalke and Liverpool], I would be perfectly happy. But in football you never know for sure.”

Along with Matip, Thiago Alcantara and Adrian are the other Liverpool first-team stars whose contract are also set to expire this summer.

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