Since signing from Schalke, Joel Matip has been superb for Liverpool and Sami Hyypia has praised the Cameroonian for his dominant defensive displays.
Joel Matip is undefeated in a Liverpool jersey, having been injured for the club’s 2-0 loss to Burnley and the 4-3 embarrassment away to Bournemouth. Jurgen Klopp signed Matip to come in and help shore up what has been a leaky defence for years and while he has gone a long way to ensuring there is more confidence at the back, there has still been a tendency to concede sloppy goals.
When you watch Matip, it’s hard not to be impressed with the former Schalke defender’s composure and ball-playing abilities, not to mention his aggression when dealing with problematic strikers. Perhaps the best reflection of his ability is that he has left Diego Costa, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Solomon Rondon and Andy Carroll on the floor in demonstrations of his no-nonsense attitude.
This ‘dominance’ has left another one of Liverpool’s great players in awe of him. Sami Hyypia, a genuine legend, has been very taken with how good he is on the ball, while still being a very good tackler and all-round defender.
“I knew him from Germany, I think I played against him and then managed Leverkusen when he was at Schalke,” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“He’s a good player. He’s a big guy, dominant player, very comfortable on the ball and that’s a big piece of how the team plays.
“When you want to play football, you need to have somebody who is comfortable on the ball and on the other hand a strong defender.
“His style of play is that he is comfortable on the ball but I think that comes from confidence, he is very confident that he can play football.”
With Matip’s imposing frame and goal-scoring ability, comparisons have been drawn with Hyypia and the Finn responded in comical style.
“If you want to see similarities,” Hyypia said. “I think there are some – but I think he’s a bit quicker than me!”
Matip is easily one of Liverpool’s best signings in recent times, but like all great players, he will only be remembered for winning titles. Liverpool are in the semi-finals of the Football League Cup and are third in the league. The Reds’ chances of winning a trophy this season are enhanced and Matip is a crucial part of any glory that Liverpool might see.
Although, he has a long way to go if he is to match Hyypia’s Champions League winner’s medal.