Despite his brilliant work alongside the obviously excellent Virgil van Dijk in fortifying Liverpool’s defence this season, the pressure just doesn’t end for Joel Matip.
Well, while the Cameroonian might’ve established himself as a mainstay with his performances so far this year, there are no seemingly clear guarantees he’ll start every game next season. The Reds are already looking for defensive reinforcements, with Diego Llorente being one to potentially (per AS) oust him, though all is not lost for the former Schalke ace. Clearly, time is running out, but surely a masterclass in the Champions League final can turn the odds into his favour.
The 27-year-old put in a great shift to neutralize the dastardly Luis Suarez the last time Liverpool played in Europe, endearing himself to the Anfield faithful. Now, to tame the famed Tottenham Hotspur’s attack, he needs to raise his game further, such are the varied options the North London side have leading the line.
Luckily, Matip was excellent the last time the Reds’ faced Spurs, neutralizing Harry Kane’s threat and winning virtually everything in an intense battle and while the England man is still not certain to start, Matip must be ready to overwhelm whoever he faces.
Indeed, be it the agile Lucas Moura or towering Fernando Llorente, the 27-year-old must use his commanding presence to keep them at bay.
Frankly, the final is his last chance at silencing his critics by proving his peak defensive skills. For the 27-year-old to guarantee a role next season, he must prove he can be trusted at the highest level.
Liverpool fans, would you want to see Matip as a regular next season? Join the discussion by commenting below…