Joel Matip’s performance in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory away to Chelsea has earned him praise from former Liverpool striker John Aldridge.
Matip continued what has been a great start to his Reds career by putting in another solid display against the Blues alongside centre-back partner Dejan Lovren.
Chelsea’s attacking prowess, in particular, Diego Costa, was always going to be a tough threat to deal with but the Cameroonian dealt with it well – even enough to get away with a mistimed tackle that led to a goal.
In his weekly column for the Liverpool Echo, Aldridge spoke of Matip, amongst a number of other talking points from the game, and seemed more than happy to wax lyrical about the former FC Schalke man.
“He was brilliant on Friday,” Aldridge said.
“He went to ground a little bit too early for their goal, but other than that, he didn’t put a foot wrong. He’s still learning and adapting, so that mistake will only help him improve further.
“Don’t forget this lad came on a free as well. Ridiculous. We always moan about paying big fees for ordinary players but Jurgen Klopp has plucked this one out of nowhere. He could be a revelation.
“He has every attribute – he’s great in the air, dominant, fantastic on the floor. Make no mistake, Klopp has found one here.”
It certainly isn’t the first time the Irishman speaks so highly of a Liverpool player this season, and rightly so. One thing that has been common in his praising of Jürgen Klopp’s players have been his comparing them to the club’s legends.
Earlier this month, Aldridge compared new signing Sadio Mané’s impact to that of Kop great John Barnes and he says a particular attribute of Matip’s also brings another Reds legend to mind.
He added: “Another thing I realised against Chelsea is just how I feel a lot more confident defending set plays because of him in the back four.
“Matip’s size and height means he’s winning those high balls in the box, he’s a real man mountain. He reminds me of Sami Hyypia in that respect, in how he likes to get his head on everything.”
Key to Matip’s success has also been the growing form of Lovren, who got on the score-sheet against Chelsea. The Croatian has looked a rejuvenated player for quite some time under his manager, arguably performing better than he did in his days at Southampton. And this has allowed for him to form a defensive partnership with his new teammate, which Aldridge also mentioned, that looks certain to grow stronger.
“Matip is finding his feet with Dejan Lovren too, and that could become a top partnership. It goes without saying, that even as a striker, you develop partnerships.
“That familiarity breeds confidence, you read each other, and early signs are good for these two.”
Liverpool fans will hope that what is good can only get better under their German boss and with a top class attacking unit almost always guaranteeing goals, Matip and his fellow defenders maintaining their good form may be all it takes for the Reds to finally achieve success.
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