What Joël Matip Will Bring to Liverpool

Liverpool’s capture of Joël Matip on a free transfer could prove a very shrewd and exciting signing for the Reds. The versatile defender will help add solidity to an area where Liverpool are currently lacking. The defender who is still just 24, will challenge the ever-improving Sakho and Lovren and perhaps replace the increasing maligned Martin Skrtel. As well as provide good cover in defensive midfield and will certainly be a useful addition to the Reds.

The German-born Cameroon international began his career at VfL Bochum before joining Schalke 04’s youth set-up in 2000, and made his breakthrough for the first team in 2009. His career got off to a fantastic start when he scored and was awarded the man of the match accolade after he scored an equalizer against Louis Van Gaal’s Bayern Munich.

Since then, he made over 150 Bundesliga appearances for Schalke and is set to make his 250th appearance for the club next Saturday. In his time at Schalke, he won the DFB-Pokal in 2011 and the DFB Super-Cup in the same year.  In recent years he has shown an eye for goal despite his defensive responsibilities, scoring 23 times for Schalke from the back.

The news that Liverpool signed the Cameroon international on a free transfer two months ago was met with excitement and hope as not only had a quality player been signed for free but many saw this as the start of Jurgen Klopp’s German-based Liverpool revolution.

Matip has numerous strengths which will help provide solidity at the back for the Reds, as well as a threat from set pieces. At 6″4′ his height is a serious advantage and this will give him aerial dominance over many Premier League strikers; the 24-year-old has won more headers than any other Bundesliga player and Liverpool player this season.

Matip has played every single minute of Schalke’s inconsistent season so far, playing 29 times for Die Königsblauen. His pace is a level above most centre-backs, and this will help him thrive playing in a high defensive line. Liverpool have had their fair share of injuries, but he has a great fitness record.

Matip is perhaps best-known in the Bundesliga for his fantastic tackling ability. He has made more interceptions and blocks than any other Schalke player this season, as well as the most clearances for the club. He has made 1112 successful passes this season with a pass accuracy of 83%, and his ability to distribute from the back will seriously help the team’s creativity.

It is very likely that Matip will prove to be a fantastic signing for the Reds. He will provide a good challenge to current centre-backs Lovren and Sakho at the heart of Liverpool’s defence and this will only be helpful as the three compete with each other for a place in the team. His ability to play as a holding midfielder means he will provide cover for the ever-improving Emre Can and perhaps replace Lucas who, despite being a very useful asset to the Reds, is struggling for consistency due to his injuries.


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