Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp lamented Joel Matip’s injury as “the most negative thing about the day” after Sunday’s 3-1 pre-season friendly loss to Borussia Dortmund in Charlotte.
The defender, whose 2017/18 season was cut short by a thigh injury which required surgery, limped off 22 minutes into the International Champions Cup clash at Bank of America Stadium.
Klopp played down concerns the issue was a recurrence of the previous problem, saying it was a “little tear”, and the player will be monitored over the next few days.
“It’s not the same injury. It’s another muscle – it looks like, hopefully, only a little tear,” the manager said at his post-match press conference, quoted on the club’s website.
“Maybe on Monday or Tuesday we will know more, but in this moment we only know that it was too painful for him to carry on.”
Matip’s last appearance of 2017/18 came in March, with the Cameroon centre-back sustaining a thigh injury against Crystal Palace and subsequently going under the knife.
He made his return to action in Liverpool’s 0-0 friendly against Bury on July 14 and then started in the 2-0 win over Blackburn.
Liverpool took the lead three minutes after Matip was replaced by Joe Gomez during Sunday’s match in North Carolina, Virgil van Dijk producing a fine header from Andrew Robertson’s cross following a short corner by Rafael Camacho.
Dortmund levelled in the 66th minute, Christian Pulisic converting a penalty after being fouled by James Milner.
The sides looked to be heading for penalties until the 89th minute, when 19-year-old American Pulisic fired into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box following a counter-attack.
The Bundesliga side snatched a third goal three minutes into stoppage time, Jacob Bruun Larsen tapping home after Loris Karius could only parry Pulisic’s shot.
“On a day like this, you have to stay strong and show desire still or kind of greed that you at least want to keep the result at 1-1,” Klopp said.
“We have to learn from it, that’s how it is, and then we have to go again.”
The result can only have added to any doubts embattled goalkeeper Karius may have had about the future, particularly in light of the club’s world-record purchase of Alisson from Roma last week.
Karius posted a message via an Instagram story after the game which read: “To those who take joy in seeing other people fail or suffer, I feel for you.
“Whatever it is that’s happening in your life to hold this much anger and hate, I pray that it passes and good things come to you.”
Liverpool’s next pre-season friendly is against Manchester City at New York’s Metlife Stadium on Wednesday.