Liverpool defender Joel Matip should have been included in the PFA Team of the Year announced yesterday.
The 30-year-old was incredibly good for Liverpool throughout 2021/22. But instead of his performances being recognised, Matip was overlooked.
In the end, it was Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger who was chosen to partner Virgil Van Dijk in defence.
Van Dijk’s spot was truly well deserved. The way he returned from injury to dominate once more for Liverpool was majestic.
But it’s Matip who tends to do the dirty work for him. Virgil even said the work that his partner does for him during games is ‘amazing.’ As highlighted by his omission from the end of season team, his good work often goes without reward.
Matip the introvert misses out
It isn’t especially that Matip is desperate to win individual accolades. The Cameroonian is an introvert and virtually nothing outside of his life on the pitch is public knowledge.
You get the impression that Matip possibly wouldn’t even be aware if he was in the end of year team or not.
That’s in stark contrast to someone like, say, Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte. Clearly perturbed by his own omission from the team, the City defender posted a cryptic message on Twitter this afternoon.
You won’t get that from Matip. Liverpool’s number 32 isn’t even on social media in the first place.
One of the best around
But of course Matip shouldn’t win any awards just for his personality. Although if it were based on personality alone, then Liverpool’s one-man meme generator would surely win.
No, Matip deserves his dues because of his displays for Liverpool.
After playing a combined 19 times over the last two Premier League seasons, the centre-back played 31 games for Liverpool in 2021/22.
He helped The Reds to the joint best defence in the league, along with City. Matip was also effective at the other end too, bagging three goals.
Two of those game in the final weeks of the season and were very nearly crucial to Liverpool winning the title.
Pundits and fans who don’t watch Matip every week can be quick to dismiss his quality. But for those of us who do, he has quite clearly been among Liverpool’s top performers all season long.
He may not get his just desserts from elsewhere, but to those who are watching closely, Matip is simply one of the best around.