Liverpool defender Joel Matip has declared himself fit enough to return to the Reds’ line-up after missing their last two matches prior to the international break.
The Cameroon international told liverpoolfc.com that he is available for selection for Sunday’s Premier League clash at Old Trafford, having returned to training at Melwood earlier this week.
Matip said to liverpoolfc.com: “I’m back in training and I feel good. Of course, if I’m needed, I will be there. Injuries [happen] to a player. Now I’m back, I hope I stay fit and I can focus on the positives.”
Statistically, Matip has been one of Liverpool’s top performers in their 100% start to the Premier League season.
Nobody else in Jurgen Klopp’s squad has won more aerial duels per game than the 28-year-old, with an average of six, while his match average of 1.7 interceptions is second only to Dejan Lovren. Also, the Cameroonian ranks third in the Reds’ squad for successful tackles (1.8) and clearances per game (5.2). [via WhoScored]
Matip, who is valued at £31.5 million (as per Transfermarkt), has been out of action since picking up a knock in last month’s win at Sheffield United, in which he excelled with seven successful aerial duels (second-most in the game), 110 touches of the ball (third-most on the day) and 88 completed passes out of 98 (89.7% accuracy; only two players had a higher rate). [via WhoScored]
Liverpool have conceded eight goals in as many matches this season with Matip in the starting line-up. In the five matches where he wasn’t a starter, the Reds have shipped six goals, at a slightly higher concession rate of 1.2 per game. [via TransferMarkt]
His return could mean that Lovren drops out of the team that started the Reds’ last game against Leicester, which may seem a tad harsh on the Croatian after he won five aerial duels (the most of any Liverpool player), made seven clearances and recorded three interceptions against the Foxes. [via WhoScored]
Matip’s declaration of match fitness ahead of the trip to Old Trafford will probably see him come straight back into the team, which is only right given how well he has played in recent weeks, albeit that Lovren proved an able deputy against Leicester.
Even though Liverpool have managed just two clean sheets in the league, the 28-year-old Cameroonian has been largely solid at the back, and his impending return ahead of the visit to Manchester United is perfectly timed from a Reds perspective.
Liverpool fans, how big a boost is it to have Matip back for Sunday? Let us know what you think by commenting below!
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