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Opinion: Virgil van Dijk is the gold standard but this Liverpool star has stepped up immensely in 2019

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Liverpool opinion: Joel Matip has been the unsung hero for Liverpool in 2019

Liverpool lost Joe Gomez to a fractured lower leg in December against Burnley.

The English centre-back had done a wonderful job alongside Virgil van Dijk at the start of the campaign, and losing him for a couple of months was a big blow.

Matters were made worse when his fracture didn’t heal quickly. The youngster had to go under the knife which kept him out for an additional month.

Virgil van Dijk & Joe Gomez of Liverpool

Dejan Lovren was having fitness issues and Jurgen Klopp turned to one of his first signings at Liverpool, Joel Matip, to solve his centre-back problem.

The Cameroon defender was shunted down the pecking order at the start of the season, but the 27-year-old is possibly playing in the form of his life.

Matip showing his class alongside Van Dijk

It is difficult to ascertain if playing alongside Van Dijk turns every defender into a world-class centre-back but that is exactly what Matip has been since the start of 2019.

We must remember that the former Schalke defender missed a month with a broken collarbone suffered in the Champions League win over Napoli.

The 27-year-old hasn’t wowed Anfield since moving on a free from Schalke, however, he has been close to perfect in recent weeks.

In the last 10 games, Matip has started, we have only conceded seven goals. It isn’t easy coming into a team and performing at a high level, especially with so much riding on the season, but the centre-back has shown his class at the back.

Matip isn’t the quickest defender in the world but he does have one skill that is always on show, the ability to dribble with the ball.

The 27-year-old doesn’t always look like he is in control when he charges into the opposition half, but he causes havoc at the back.

His dribbles have caused mayhem in several games and it is only a matter of time when he smacks the ball into the net like Daniel Agger used to.

It is also telling that the manager hasn’t changed the pairing of Van Dijk and Matip even after Gomez  returned to fitness.

Gomez might be preferred to Matip but Klopp is taking his time bringing the Englishman back into the side.

The defender has made a couple of sub appearances recently and it seems like the right decision from Klopp to keep Matip in the starting XI.

Read more Liverpool news, click here – Latest Liverpool news

The Cameroonian wasn’t our first-choice at the start of the season at the back, but his performances have proved he is capable of doing a fine job for the Reds.

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Liverpool plotting move to sign this Arsenal backroom staff member

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Gary O'Driscoll

Liverpool target Arsenal’s head of medical services – Gary O’Driscoll

Liverpool have identified Arsenal’s Gary O’Driscoll as the leading candidate to replace the outgoing Andrew Massey. (h/t Daily Mail)

Massey who is the current head of medical services at Liverpool will leave the club on March 1st to take up a position at FIFA.

Having been at the club for almost seven years, Massey has played a key role in the Reds being one of the fittest teams in the league.

O’Driscoll is widely recognized as being one of the best in his field and Arsenal are determined to keep him at the Emirates.

Gary O'Driscoll

Driscoll has been at Arsenal since 2009 and is one of the old guards who has survived various culls.

He has held lead positions with the British Lions and Ireland rugby team. He should now welcome the chance to work for the European and World Champions. (h/t Metro)

Hailing from Manchester, Driscoll could welcome a return to the North-West of England to Merseyside.

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Liverpool are an extremely well-run club both on and off the pitch. Driscoll should relish the ability to work with the Reds without having to worry about politics or unrest.

In Driscoll, Liverpool look to have found an excellent candidate to continue the work of Andrew Massey as the Reds prepare for life without the medical genius.

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Third Liverpool star shipped out on loan until the end of the season

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Isaac Christie-Davies

Isaac Christie-Davies joins Cercle Brugge until the end of the season

Liverpool striker Isaac Christie-Davies has joined Cercle Brugge on loan until the end of the season. (h/t Liverpoolfc)

Christie-Davies will now link-up with the Groen en Zwart at their winter training camp in Malta. He is the third Liverpool player to leave on loan this month following Herbie Kane and Rhian Brewster.

The 22-year-old joined Liverpool from Chelsea and made his debut last month in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals against Aston Villa.

Isaac Christie-Davies

Bernd Storck is the manager of Cercle Brugge, who gained promotion to Belgium’s top-flight last season.

The German coach was previously in charge of Royal Excel Mouscron, where Taiwo Awoniyi spent time on loan last season.

Cercle currently have 13 players on loan at the club. The Welshman’s versatility has seen him perform in midfield, on the wing and upfront for the Liverpool Under-23s this season. This could boost his chances of a starting berth.

Cercle are currently bottom of the Belgian top tier, seven points off their closest rivals Waasland-Beveren after taking just 11 from their opening 21 games.

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Cercle next play at home to Royal Antwerp on January 19 and should give Christie-Davies enough time to prepare for his possible debut.

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Liverpool striker returns from loan spell after scoring just 1 goal in 22 games

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liam millar

Liam Millar has been recalled by Liverpool from his loan at Kilmarnock

Liverpool youngster Liam Millar has returned to the club after cutting short his loan at Kilmarnock. (h/t Liverpoolfc)

The 20-year-old striker, who joined from Fulham in 2016, is yet to make his debut for the Merseysiders.

Millar signed a long-term first-team contract with Liverpool in January 2019 and joined Scottish Premiership side Kilmarnock on loan until the end of the 2018–19 season.

Liam Millar

He made his debut for Kilmarnock in a 2–1 loss to Hearts and scored his first goal a month later against St Mirren.

He returned on loan to Kilmarnock in August 2019 on a year-long loan which has now been cut short by the Reds.

The striker made 22 appearances for Kilmarnock this season, scoring just 1 goal. (h/t Whoscored)

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A versatile forward, Millar is capable of playing both upfront and on the left flank with equal proficiency.

Liverpool had also recalled Nathaniel Phillips from his loan at VfB Stuttgart to address the lack of cover at centre-back due to injuries.

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