Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has hailed Joel Matip for his ability to carry the ball out from the back, insisting he adds something different to Virgil van Dijk.
Speaking on CBS Sports, as relayed by HITC, former Liverpool defender and club legend Jamie Carragher has lavished praise on Reds’ star Joel Matip over his ability to bring the ball out from the backline.
Matip has been with Liverpool for five years now, having arrived on a free transfer after his contract with Schalke run out. While he has had injury issues in plenty along the way, the Cameroonian defender has been a largely reliable performer for the Merseyside giants.
To date, the 30-year-old has made 128 appearances for Liverpool, scoring six goals and setting up three more. Matip missed a large chunk of the last season due to injuries, but has come back strong in the ongoing campaign.
The ex-Schalke ace started four of Liverpool’s five Premier League games so far, forming a strong partnership with Virgil van Dijk, while he was also part of the lineup against AC Milan in the UEFA Champions League, when the Dutchman was given a breather.
Carragher, speaking earlier this week, prior to Liverpool’s win over Crystal Palace, hailed Matip, claiming he adds something different to the table when compared to van Dijk.
“We thought he (Matip) may miss out (v AC Milan) because he has had injury problems in the past also,” said Carragher. “But him and Van Dijk have provided a partnership for Liverpool this season, as good as anything in the Premier League or the Champions League, you would say.
“Matip’s added something that maybe Van Dijk doesn’t in that Virgil van Dijk plays great passes, from a standing position. But Joel Matip likes to come out with the ball and actually beat people. When he actually steps into midfield and looks for openings. And this (run) actually opens the scoring at Leeds in that impressive performance. But that comes from a centre-back actually stepping out in that position.”
Having been involved in each of Liverpool’s first five matches of the season in all competitions, Matip was finally given a breather against Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp opting to play with Ibrahima Konate and van Dijk. The duo, for the most part, did well against the Eagles, helping the Reds to a 3-0 win.
When fit he is a truly superb centre back. It’s a shame about his injuries as he’s VDV’s ideal partner and a class above Gomez.