So here it is! The Merseyside club have officially announced that Joel Matip has been registered as a Liverpool player. The 24-year-old centre back signed a long term contract with the Reds and now, he will be taking part in the start of pre-season training with his new teammates at Melwood on Saturday, when Jürgen Klopp’s side begins preparations for the 2016-17 campaign.
The 24-year-old defender will join Liverpool after spending seven years with the senior Schalke side for whom, he made more than 250 appearances, scoring 23 goals. He had a tough start to his Schalke career, but in the following season, he made it to the first team and became a regular starter with the club.
With the arrival of the top names like Ibrahimovic or Granit Xhaka, Joel Matip’s speculation went under the radar. The defender became the first signing of the summer for Jürgen Klopp and it is expected that he will become a first team regular for the side. Well, the Cameroonian is not just a centre back, his versatility also allows him to play as a defensive midfielder and that is an excellent advantage for him.
Now, with him coming into the squad, Jürgen Klopp will be having a severe headache when it comes to selecting the perfect defensive duo for the games. Klopp’s arrival at Anfield made the likes of Dejan Lovren and Mamdou Sakho revive their careers from nowhere and became one of the best centre halves of the league.
The 6’4″ defender (Matip) is known for his rough, yet well timed tackling and that makes him one of the best. Matip isn’t the one of the most known personnel in the sport, but his effectiveness in the field can surely be sensed easily. The German-born Cameroonian international is also known for his toughness and for his physical approach in the game. With a great experience of the Champions League and Bundesliga, he would easily become a perfect option for the manager.
The fact that he has arrived on a free transfer and on a low wage is a huge plus for Klopp. At just 24 years of age, he is able to cove number of positions and just due to his tirelessness, he could haunt the opposition strikers with ease. Talking statistically; Matip made 34 appearances for Schalke last season in the Bundesliga and scored 3 goals and also bagged three assists to his name.
He was also named man of the match twice and was voted as the best man in the team thrice. He had an average passing accuracy of 83% and completed 1399 passes. He averaged atleast 9 defensive actions per game and won 59% of his duels. In a total of 157 headed duels, he won 117, which is 46 more than Liverpool’s most proficient header of the ball, Mama Sakho, at 71.
Liverpool was heavily criticized for being incompetent while defending the corners or crosses, but now with the arrival of Karius and Matip, the side will defend the set pieces with much more ease. Liverpool fans have already started comparing Matip with their former defender Daniel Agger, who recently retired from the sport. Despite being a centre half, Matip’s quality of playing the ball forward is what makes him one of the best in the business.