Liverpool have truly transformed into one of the best teams in world football, haven’t they? Indeed, as well as boasting one of Europe’s most potent attacks, their defence has been particularly impressive this season.
Obviously, everyone knows that and the signings of Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk and Fabinho have had a transformative effect at Anfield, though this has been aided by one of the surprise performers of the season in Joel Matip.
The defender was brought to Liverpool in a free transfer from Schalke in 2016, an almighty scoop given the fact he was then just 24. However, the Cameroonian had seemed to have fallen down the pecking order, with both Dejan Lovren and, more prominently Joe Gomez, more likely to partner Virgil van Dijk.
However, since returning from injury in January, Matip has shown the world what he is capable of. The defender has now made 21 appearances in the league this season, yet to lose a game and conceding just 12 goals. Mighty impressive statistics from the man who once looked as clumsy as he is tall. Matip can now be seen galloping down the field, regularly exciting the fans with powerful runs from defence.
Even in the defeat against Barcelona, fans celebrated his performance. It’s fair to say Joe Gomez has a tough task in breaking back into the team. It must be noted that Matip is still only 27 and has a number of years left at the top of his game. He is now valued at £18m (as per TransferMarkt) highlighting the distinct profit Liverpool have made on the defender.
Liverpool have the joint best defensive record in the league this season, conceding just 22 goals. While so much of the credit has been attributed to £75m signing van Dijk, it’s remarkable to see the impact Matip has had considering he was signed for free.
If he continues to impress as he has done this season, Liverpool may have the best defence in Europe in the years to come.
Liverpool fans, how highly do you rate Matip? Do you need to invest further in the defence in the summer or are you now strong enough? Comment below.