Liverpool look set to be without the services of Joel Matip until after Christmas, with Jurgen Klopp providing an update on the defender’s fitness yesterday.
The 28-year-old has been missing for several weeks because of a knee injury and, speaking to reporters yesterday, the Reds manager hinted that the Cameroonian centre-back will be out for at least another couple of weeks.
The Liverpool Echo quoted Klopp as saying: “All the little things have to heal as quickly as possible, but here it is taking the normal amount of time.
“It was not like after four weeks or so that it was already as we wished, so we have to wait another two weeks I would think and then we will see.”
He has only played in one of Liverpool’s 14 matches since then and, in the games that he missed, Klopp’s team have conceded 19 goals, an average of 1.46 per game. [via TransferMarkt]
Although centre-back team-mates Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren are strong in the air, winning 5.6 and 5.3 headers per game respectively, Matip has the best aerial duels average of anyone at Anfield, with 5.9 headers won per match. [via WhoScored]
He has also made the most interceptions per game (1.7) of any Liverpool player, while his match average of 1.7 successful tackles is the fourth highest in Klopp’s squad and the best among the centre-backs. [via WhoScored]
Lovren, who has started the last seven Premier League games in Matip’s absence, has respectable match averages of 1.4 successful tackles and 1.1 interceptions, not far behind his centre-back team-mate but still falling short of the 28-year-old’s standards.
While Lovren’s metrics would suggest that he has been performing solidly in Matip’s absence, he still hasn’t been able to hit the heights that the Cameroon international managed prior to his injury.
Also, Liverpool’s far superior concession average with Matip in the team compared to without it shows that the 28-year-old cannot come back quickly enough – their failure to keep a clean sheet since the knock he picked up at Bramall Lane more than two months ago does not seem coincidental.
Liverpool fans, do you think that the Reds will be better defensively once Matip comes back into the team or has Lovren done a good job in his absence? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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