Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

100% duels, 2 interceptions: Joel Matip delivered big vs Atletico Madrid

Joel Matip had a great game for Liverpool against Atletico Madrid on Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League. The 30-year-old stepped up when the Reds needed it.

Jurgen Klopp stuck with his centre-back pairing on Tuesday evening. Despite having Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate as options, the Liverpool boss went with Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip at the back.

It wasn’t as easy a decision as first seems. For one, the same pairing featured on Saturday, while there’s a huge game with Manchester United next Sunday.

With Van Dijk and Matip almost certainly starting at Old Trafford, there was a possibility they’d be rested in Madrid. Instead, they started against Atletico Madrid, too.

It was the right decision. Atletico caused Liverpool some serious problems and could have won the game. Fortunately, certain Reds really stepped up to win the game.

One of those was Matip, who had about as good a game as you can have on such a tough European away night.

Matip vs Atletico

What really stands out about Matip’s performance was how dominant he was. The Cameroonian won virtually every duel he faced and did so under pressure.

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Matip won two tackles out of two, throwing in another two interceptions for good measure. He also won 80% of his aerial duels for a total of four.

Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

His passing, too, was magnificent. Matip had the best pass completion of any starting outfield player with 95%. That came from 70 completed passes out of 74 attempts.

In all, Liverpool couldn’t really have asked for more. Matip was incredibly consistent on a tough night where Atletico really went for a result. They struggled to get the better of the Cameroonian, however.

This is the latest performance in a run of great displays from Matip. He’s having a very good season and has arguably been Liverpool’s best defender so far.

Long may it continue.

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