|Desc||For all the attention that the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have received for Liverpool’s stellar form, Joel Matip might perhaps be the most underrated Reds player. The Cameroon international arrived at Anfield for free from Schalke in 2016, and gradually became one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s team sheet in the following seasons. Matip formed a solid centre-back partnership with Van Dijk, which was integral to the Reds’ Champions League success and their second-placed Premier League finish in 2019|
|Org||Cameroon National Team|
|Club as Player||Liverpool FC|
2017 08 05 Retrieve
[Joel Matip gives insight into manager Jurgen Klopp’s tactics and personality] Jurgen Klopp knows what he wants from every player - fast counter-pressing with direct attacks, but also a clean and structured build-up with specific position-play. But of course, if we lose the ball, the first step is towards the ball and not back to defend at our box. We are defending very high. It begins with the strikers, who run up to the opponent and cover a lot of metres, which allows us defenders to play very high too. It’s hard to describe Klopp’s aura. He is very affable, yet direct. Even when there is something wrong, he is straight with you, but in a cordial manner. He’s straight but cordial. It’s hard to say that in one word
2020 03 23 Retrieve
[Matip reveals awkward encounter with Barca star after Liverpool comeback] After the game, we lined up arm-in-arm in front of the Kop together and sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ with the fans. That was one of the most beautiful moments of my career, maybe on the same level as my debut for Schalke in Munich. I didn’t care about anything; I was floating on air after singing with the fans. And when I came into the doping test room, there was a guy sitting there pretty depressed – Lionel Messi. You know each other from the pitch, but it’s not like you sit around with them every day in a small room like you’re getting coffee. Everyone is celebrating, and I’m sitting in a cubicle with Messi.
[Klopp and his players still aren’t always on quite the same wavelength] Sometimes I’m the only one in the dressing room who understands his jokes straight away. I sit on the side and watch the others thinking about it. When the coach says things like ‘that was not the yellow from the egg,’ which means ‘that wasn’t exactly brilliant,’ only the assistant coach and I burst out laughing. Then I have to explain what the sentences mean to the others
[Matip also reserved some praise for Firmino] The boy dresses as if he had completely stripped a mannequin. But he can pull it off. I look like a Bond villain in these clothes
2020 05 05 Retrieve
[Divock Origi’s second of the game booked a place in the final, and set Liverpool up for a sixth European Cup triumph, with Trent Alexander-Arnold teeing him up with a clever set-piece] I was slowly on the way to the box, so in centre-back style I was slowly going from back to front! I thought maybe in 20 seconds there would be a corner coming in or something like this; I came forward and had a nice view of the whole situation. It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what had happened because he just put the ball in. I thought, ‘What is this?’ Then I saw Divock there and the ball in the net afterwards […] I was a little bit confused, to be honest. But after a few seconds, everybody was celebrating so I just joined in
I think after Gini’s [Wijnaldum] first one it was like, ‘Oh, we’re going to win this game’ because we’d played well. After his second, I thought, ‘OK, today we can do it’. But you never know because you know who you play against and you don’t even have to play badly, these strikers can have a magic moment and can score.
Of course, the game in Camp Nou was not bad but they scored three goals and we knew it would be a really tough, tough game at Anfield - we knew we’d need something special to happen if we were to reach the final. We thought, ‘Let’s win this game’ but we never could have imagined how it would turn out in the end. Of course, we’d played so well there, in Camp Nou, against Barcelona, against one of the strongest sides in the world at home, so there was something to be positive about - but they scored the goals and we didn’t. We knew if we repeated that performance, make a few adaptations and use our chances, then for sure everyone was confident we could beat them on the night, but we didn’t think about the result in the end. Of course, if you miss some players with the quality of Bobby [Firmino] and Mo [Salah], every team would miss them and it’s not perfect. We still had enough players and a lot of quality, and the team together can achieve a lot of things
2020 06 30 Retrieve
[Joel Matip to miss the rest of Liverpool’s season with foot injury] This season I will be not back on the pitch but for next season, I hope I’m going to be quite early a direct help for the team