Liverpool are open to a Joel Matip sale, according to reports. It’s a very brave stance to hold.
This comes from the Sunday World. They claim that this summer may see Joel Matip up for sale.
Liverpool want money for new signings, they say, and selling Matip would provide a chunk – assuming they find a buyer.
For us, this is a very brave stance. And, arguably, a necessary one.
Matip is a fine example of Liverpool’s problem. He went into this season as third-choice, only to see the two players ahead of him pick up season-ending injuries.
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That should have been his chance to become Liverpool’s saviour. He could step up as the no.1 centre-half and as one of the most important players in the side.
Instead, he got injured, too. Not that Liverpool should be too surprised – Matip only played eight Premier League games last season.
He’ll finish this campaign with nine, having had 17 two years ago. This isn’t a reliably-fit player.
Which makes him a difficult option as squad cover. Can Liverpool really support Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez with someone even more likely to be injured? That’s not what you want from a squad option.
Especially as those two come back from serious injuries. They could break down again, while Liverpool will want to go easy on them.
But if their third-choice option isn’t fit, the Reds will constantly rely on their fourth-choice. And at this point, is Matip useful?
The easy answer is to sign someone as third-choice and relegate Matip to fourth. That adds more reliability but Matip isn’t an obvious fourth-choice player.
He’s only available for a dozen Premier League games per season at his current rate. When will he ever play? The rare times he’d be needed, chances are he’s out injured.
So we understand the sale stance. But it’s a risk.
Anyone Liverpool replace him with won’t be as good – at his best Matip is a magnificent defender. They’d be sacrificing quality for reliability.
Hopefully, that sees a young player come in who can grow to Matip’s level. But to begin with, Liverpool will be weaker in quality.
It feels necessary, though. The Reds need more reliability next season and Matip can’t provide that. Selling him to fund someone who can is a brave but sensible choice.