In recent times, Liverpool has started looking fresh and dangerous. Many will agree that Jurgen Klopp has definitely brought his style of football to Liverpool and the entire team has adapted quite well to it. Liverpool now a days look to tear apart the opponent defenses and score many a goals in each match. Their strikers and midfielders have really stepped up a gear. The likes of Lallana, Coutinho, Sturridge, Origi and all have really excelled under Klopp. And it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Klopp has also made a weak looking Liverpool defence play like a formidable one. The likes of Sakho and Lovren have recently started producing brilliant performances under the guidance of Klopp. Liverpool recently announced that Joel Matip will also be joining them at the end of the current season. That has made us think that with Matip arriving what would be the best defensive duo for Liverpool next season?
Joel Matip is a Cameroonian footballer who is currently playing for FC Shalke in the German Bundesliga. Matip is a versatile player and can excel in both centre back and defensive midfield roles. This season, Matip has made 31 appearances and has won 40 tackles with a success rate of 51%. He has made 92 interceptions, 166 clearances and 29 blocks. He has also scored 3 goals and created 11 chances. He has won 60% of his average duels and maintained 82% average pass accuracy. Quite impressive stats for a 24 year old. Matip has made close to 200 appearances for Schalke and that speaks volumes about this player.
Let us now look at the current Liverpool centre backs. Dejan Lovren this season has made 22 appearances. He has won 9 tackles with a success rate of 38%. He has made 18 interceptions, 43 clearances and 4 blocks. He has average pass accuracy if 84% and won 61% of his average duels. Mamadou Sakho has also made 22 appearances. He was won 20 tackles with a success rate of 50%. He has made 37 interceptions, 141 clearances and 22 blocks. He has also scored a goal and created 4 chances. He has an average pass accuracy of 88% and has won 60% of his average duels. Martin Skrtel has made 19 appearances this season. He has wo 16 tackles with a success rate of 59%. He has made 40 interceptions, 128 clearances and 14 blocks. He has scored a goal and created 5 chances. He has an average pass accuracy of 85% and won 56% of his average duels.
Going by stats and performances this season I would pick Joel Matip and Mamadou Sakho at the heart of the Liverpool defense for next season. Even though Skrtel is a senior figure at the club, I would prefer to bench him and maybe bring him later on during the matches. Lovren of late has started to flourish under Klopp. Accordingly, Klopp might try to start him in the league and FA Cup matches and if he impresses then get him starts in the other competitions as well. Both Matip and Sakho have shown good performances in the Europa league. That makes their case of being the starting duo all the more strong. With Sakho at 26 and Matip at 24 years of age, Klopp might be trying to build a young, strong and powerful central defensive force for the EPL next season. And if things go as per plan, the duo might be one of the best in the EPL in a season or two. Both Matip and Sakho have given impressive matured performances for their respective clubs this season and Klopp would be trying to build up on that.