With Liverpool deciding against making Ozan Kabak’s loan move permanent this summer, it likely means that Joel Matip will be staying at the club.
Fabrizio Romano has confirmed that there is ‘no chance’ that Kabak will stay on Merseyside. It remains to be seen what will come next for the Turkish international.
While a deal to sign Ibrahima Konate looks all but complete, many believed that Liverpool would make Kabak’s move permanent as well.
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all missed the majority of the 2020/21 season through injury. As it turned out, one of the two men brought in in January to replace them, Ben Davies, never managed to play a game for the club.
So, like Kabak, Davies is likely to leave this summer.
While van Dijk and Gomez are certain to stay, many wondered whether Matip’s constant injury woes and his age would lead the club to sell him this summer.
If that was the case, then Liverpool would have had to have signed someone else along with Konate. They saw this season that four first-team centre-backs isn’t really enough.
As impressive as Nat Phillips has been, he is really only good enough to be fifth-choice.
Essentially, if Kabak stayed, then Matip’s departure would have become a real possibility.
However, now that Kabak is not being signed, the 29-year-old looks certain to stay.
Matip a top-tier defender when fit
In truth, it makes no sense to let Matip leave.
Ok, it is frustrating having a player that is injured so regularly. But the Cameroonian is undergoing a new fitness plan to try to rid himself of these injuries.
Hopefully, this will work and it will be the end of his woes. Even if it doesn’t eradicate injuries and just lessens them, it would be well worth it.
Matip is a world-class defender. He has practically no faults in his game. The only issue is he hasn’t been able to put a full season of his best form together.
With Konate and Gomez battling it out to be van Dijk’s partner, Matip will be under no pressure to rush himself back from knocks. He will now be able to take his time and get to 100% fitness before being thrown into a game.
Having Matip as a fourth-choice centre-back is also useful because he will understand why he cannot play every game. The likes of Kabak may have been frustrated with a lack of game time, but Matip probably won’t be.
Hopefully, van Dijk, Gomez and Konate will stay injury-free next season anyway, so Liverpool won’t have to rely on Matip being fit like they had to last campaign.
When he does not have to be relied on, it is well worth having him around. Especially when he is as good as he is.