Joel Matip put in a wonderful performance for Liverpool vs Newcastle United on Thursday evening. The Reds ran out 3-1 winners at Anfield.
Liverpool got the win they needed against Newcastle – but it wasn’t as routine as it could have been. They actually fell behind quite early on as a Jonjo Shelvey strike got the better of Alisson.
Liverpool rallied to go 2-1 up before half-time but a quiet second half always carried the threat a Newcastle equaliser. The only real reason it wasn’t incredibly tense was thanks to a great performance from the Liverpool centre-back pairing.
Ibrahima Konate rightly earned praise with his performance. The Frenchman almost certainly wasn’t supposed to start this one but a positive Covid-19 test ruled Virgil van Dijk out very late in the day.
He was able to replace the Dutchman well, however – and a lot of credit for that should go to Joel Matip. The 30-year-old was the perfect presence in this one.
Joel Matip shines for Liverpool vs Newcastle
Matip’s dominance didn’t come in the form of unfathomable stats – more in the fact that he didn’t put a foot wrong. He played the role of senior centre-back to perfection and was near faultless.
His pass completion, for instance, was a wonderful 92%. That beat every player on the pitch who attempted more than a single pass.
And that consistency flowed into his tackling, too. Matip attempted three and won three – no one won more for the Reds and certainly not at a 100% success rate.
He also wasn’t dispossessed once, despite moving forward with the ball as frequently as ever, and Matip also created a chance. You can’t ask for more from a player, especially under difficult circumstances with the late change. It was exactly what Liverpool needed against Newcastle. A senior player stepping up and running the show in light of absences.
Brilliant from Matip, then. A fantastic player enjoying a great season so far.