Joel Matip earned applause from his teammates for a wonderful piece of skill in training. Virgil van Dijk called it.
Liverpool released their latest Inside Training video on Thursday ahead of the Community Shield on Saturday. The Reds are still in Austria for their camp but will now make their way back to England.
And perhaps the most notable thing about this video was just how sharp the team looks. Everyone was at their best and some of the training exercises were truly remarkable. Kick-ups, rondos galore and a particularly emphatic free-kick from Thiago all caught the eye.
Then there was Joel Matip, who produced one piece of skill that earned applause from his teammates. Virgil van Dijk managed to see it coming.
A tiny goal – just a couple of feet wide – sat around 50 yards from the group as Van Dijk tried to ping a ball into it. He came nowhere near. Matip then fancied a go of his own, however.
“He’s gonna do it, watch him,” said Van Dijk as his centre-back partner lined up his effort. He was right, too, as Matip curled one straight into the middle of the goal.
“I told you he was going to do this!” said Van Dijk. “Again, again.”
“You stop when it’s good!” replied Matip, who didn’t fancy ruining his moment as teammates and coaches applauded him.
Joel Matip shows off elite skill
Matip turns 31 in a little over a week and it feels as though he just gets better on the ball as he gets older. Last season, certainly, he was one of the best dribblers at the club. The way he now brings the ball out of defence might be on a different level to every other centre-back in the Premier League.
And that skill is exactly why Van Dijk knew he’d find the net in training. Matip is playing at the top of his game, showcasing passing and dribbling that few can match. It’s a wonderful luxury for Liverpool to have – and they’re set to get it again this seaosn.