Joel Matip has officially completed his move to Liverpool from Schalke. He was the first player whom Klopp signed, although the transfer completed on Friday. Liverpool had defensive problems throughout last season. Injuries and inconsistency meant Klopp could not decide on a proper pairing at the centre of the defense. Klopp even used Lucas Leiva as a centre back in a desperate attempt to fill the gap. Liverpool needed a stable centre back and signing Joel Matip has pretty much solved the issue. A lot is expected from him and he can bring a lot of things to Liverpool.
Matip made 33 appearances for Schalke in the Bundesliga last season, more than any of Liverpool’s centre backs could manage in the Premier League. Matip’s fitness levels are good and he can make more than 30 appearances. Also he is a consistent player and gives his 100% in almost every match. Matip can become a permanent fixture of the squad and with Lovren in good form, they will be expected to stitch a strong partnership.
Matip, on an average, made 3.2 interceptions per match last season. It was more than any of Liverpool’s centre backs could manage. Standing at 6ft 4in, Matip will provide Liverpool a physical presence in the box. He has won 3.3 aerial duels on an average every match. This could be very crucial while defending set pieces, something where Liverpool have been very poor. He will be very vital during dead ball situations, while attacking as well as defending. His height will help him become a better target for Liverpool during set pieces. Liverpool’s set pieces were fruitless last season and Matip can help reap some fruits.
Matip made 97 interceptions, 175 clearances and blocked 30 shots last season. These stats give us an idea, as to how good a centre back Matip is. His tackle timing is very good. At 52%, his tackle success rate is excellent and he will be a very important figure in Liverpool’s back 4 next season. Matip has an average passing accuracy rate of 83% which is very impressive. He played 1 key pass every two games and it shows that he can propel attacks from the defense and also play in the midfield. Matip will bring stability to Liverpool’s back 4 and will be a very key figure in Liverpool’s squad next season. He is surely a very important signing for Liverpool.