According to Matthew Johnson, Joel Matip is turning out to be the best signing of the summer transfer window and here is why:
Joel Matip is a leader with the reputation of being aggressive, calm with the ball, powerful and possessing the ability to read the game and upon coming toLiverpool, has done exactly that. The 25-year-old who learnt his trade in Germany after spending 7 years with Schalke 04 before transferring to the Merseyside club on a pre-contract, has impressed the Liverpool faithful since his arrival in the summer.
The Cameroon international made his competitive debut in the 5-0 victory over Burton Albion and has steadily formed a promising partnership with fellow centre-back Dejan Lovren.
Matip also put in a solid display on his Premier League debut vs. Tottenham Hotspur (keeping both Harry Kane & Vincent Janssen quiet), however, his influence & ability really started to come to the fore in the impressive victory over big rivals Chelsea.
Diego Costa may have scored but apart from the goal, Matip had him right where he wanted him, touch tight at all times, getting to the ball ahead of him on several occasions and beating the striker in the air pretty much all game.
Liverpool has very much struggled defensively ever since the likes of Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger left – a tough duo to replace it must be said. Martin Skrtel dipped year by year, Ilori hasn’t proven himself to Rodgers & Klopp, fan favourite Sakho has had disciplinary/behind the scene issues and Dejan Lovren struggled in his first season. However, Lovren has started to prove his worth in the last 18 months and it all but looks like Joel Matip is the perfect defender to slot in alongside Lovren to go by his performances since his arrival.
It could be argued that Liverpool would have won the Premier League in the 2013/14 season had they a solid defence, which they didn’t, leaking 50 goals. No doubt Liverpool had one of the best attacks in the league, but as Sir Alex Ferguson once said “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles”, which is absolutely true.
If Liverpool is to put up a title challenge in the coming years they will need a solid defence, and with the recent signing of Joel Matip, it sure does look a lot more promising.
It’s still early days, however, Matip has started his Liverpool career off very well and is only 25, so he is bound to learn even more. He is so confident and effective with the ball at his feet – there are far fewer ‘nerves’ from Liverpool fans when they play from the back and the most impressive thing about the Cameroon international is that he doesn’t mess around with the ball (won’t overplay, very much a ‘when in doubt, boot it out’ type footballer) and when he is in possession he is always looking to play forward (often see him follow his pass too and get involved in with attack.)
Considering several clubs have paid big money for central defenders this summer, Joel Matip on a free could well be one of the signings of the summer, very much a Jurgen Klopp type signing.