Liverpool managed to scrape a victory over the weekend. The Reds were far from their best as they took on Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United. The battle of Bramall Lane saw the visitors dominate possession throughout the game, however, Jürgen Klopp’s side were wasteful with their domination of the ball, the front 3 were misfiring and the midfield were largely impotent. The hosts had their own gilt edged chances throughout the game and Liverpool were incredibly lucky to come away with the 3 points. After the game, Ian Wright singled out one Reds player for high praise.
During his analysis on BBC’s Match of the Day, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright drooled over the performance of Joel Matip. The lanky Cameroonian defender has been enjoying a showering of praise from fans, players and pundits alike in recent weeks. The footballing world is finally waking up to the importance of Joel Matip to this Liverpool side. Wright told Match of the Day, “in defence he was absolutely brilliant”. The free transfer had to be, given the poor display from his team’s front 3 – something that Wrighty picked up on, “people like Matip and Van Dijk… they can’t afford to have off-days like the forwards did today.”
When the Reds are dominating possession and struggling to break down a defence, it takes a player like Matip to make something happen, as he often does with his strides out of defence and passes rifled into his forwards’ feet. The Gooner’s favourite appreciated this side of the defender’s game: “when he didn’t have the option to pass it forward he just ran it forward with confidence. Brilliant play.”
At the minute, Joel Matip is utterly undroppable, which is bad news for Joe Gomez. If the Cameroonian can continue his form and the Reds’ front 3 recover theirs, we can expect a few assists from the defender this year.