Joel Matip Delivers “Super Performance” for Liverpool Against West Ham
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was rewarded with a “super performance” from Joel Matip at centre-back as the Reds hosted West Ham on Sunday. Matip was a surprise starter, with Klopp making eight changes to his starting lineup from LASK in midweek.
Matip Stays Tight to Michail Antonio
Matip stayed tight to West Ham striker Michail Antonio throughout the match, not allowing him to turn and exploit the space behind Liverpool’s high line. This was essential, given the way Klopp sets his side up, and the manager acknowledged Matip’s performance in his post-match press conference.
“Joel Matip [had] a super performance against Antonio,” Klopp said. “It’s a key moment in the game. They chip the ball there and I don’t know how often in the past we suffered when he could control the ball. Today he had it once or twice and immediately the chaos starts. [Matip] did that really well.”
Matip Making Most of Injury-Hit Season
Matip has already started four times this season, largely due to Ibrahima Konate’s injury, coming at the start of a campaign which many believe will be his last for Liverpool. His contract is due to expire next summer and reports suggest he will be allowed to leave on a free transfer instead of being offered an extension.
But while Matip – and, to a lesser extent, Joe Gomez – has found himself shunted to the periphery in recent years, and down in the estimations of fans as a result, he is still capable of showing his worth. That came again on Sunday, with the Cameroonian stepping up to the challenge of a cocksure Antonio and emerging as a key part of Liverpool’s latest victory.
Joel Matip may have been a surprise starter for Liverpool against West Ham, but his performance was anything but. Matip stayed tight to Michail Antonio throughout the match, not allowing him to turn and exploit the space behind Liverpool’s high line. Jurgen Klopp acknowledged Matip’s performance in his post-match press conference, praising him for helping the Reds avoid “chaos.” Matip has already started four times this season, and while he may be on his way out of Anfield next summer, he is still capable of showing his worth.