Joel Matip has emerged this season as a key performer as his displays at the back have helped Liverpool sustain a brilliant title bid.
The Cameroonian was initially considered as one of the players most likely to be on his way out this summer. He had previously struggled with injury but after recovering from a broken collarbone, is now one of the first names on the team sheet.
There is no denying that playing alongside a defender as dominant and gifted at leading as Virgil van Dijk has helped him prove his worth over the last few months.
That said, there is no taking away from how impressive he has been on an individual level.
A video has been doing the rounds on Twitter – a two-minute clip of Matip cantering out from centre back into midfield and getting involved in the final third – and it has enhanced his reputation among supporters.
Until recently, Matip has received very little credit in general but what has gone under the radar almost entirely until his extended run in the side is his ability to break the lines with his passing or runs beyond opposing midfielders.
Against Cardiff, there were at least two instances when, on another day, he might have assisted Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino but the two Liverpool forwards were unable to find the back of the net.
Before Matip found himself starting week in and week out in 2019, he was tipped to be one of several players leaving the club this summer but instead there are calls for him to be offered a contract extension.
You’ll find most supporters still want to see Joe Gomez come into the side again next season but Matip has done enough that the 21-year-old will not be an automatic starter.
Memories of having the likes of Kyriakos at the back for Liverpool are long gone.
Knowing that a good defender like Matip will be battling to find his way into the starting XI for the 2019/20 season is a testament to just how far Liverpool have come under Jurgen Klopp.
If Dejan Lovren is sold and another defender in the mould of Gomez is acquired, it will be great for both the longevity of the squad and for the current setup.