Joel Matip has now been a Liverpool participant for 5 years and, whereas displaying he’s a high quality defender, he nonetheless has lots to show after accidents besieged his Anfield profession.
Having arrived on a free switch from Schalke on July 1, 2016, there was real pleasure over the arrival of the 6’4 defender after the backline Jurgen Klopp inherited continued to crumble.
With tempo and a presence in each bins, Matip represented a contemporary look because the German’s evolution at Anfield acquired underway.
Nonetheless, it didn’t take lengthy to be given a glimpse at what was to come back, with damage having threatened his capacity to partake within the pre-season tour of the US simply weeks after his arrival.
In the end, he would navigate his debut marketing campaign with just one damage setback and have 32 instances, his second-highest season look tally behind 2017/18 – when he performed 35 video games.
Regardless of his highest numbers, he nonetheless confirmed a frailty that was trigger for concern, with a thigh damage on the finish of November 2017 sending his Anfield profession on a irritating trajectory.
Glimpses of the participant he could possibly be – calm on the ball, a robust presence and with an eye fixed for a go – can be closely outweighed by the dearth of constant time on the pitch.
In 2018/19 there can be 26 begins for Matip, and within the two years mixed thereafter, simply 22 – all of which lends itself to a tally of 123 video games performed out of a potential 265 since he arrived.
That quantities to simply 46 p.c of matches.
In fact, no participant needs to seek out themselves in that place and will probably be as equally irritating for Matip to see his physique fail him and succumb to at least one damage after the opposite.
It has seen his standing within the aspect regularly shift, most notably when he ousted Joe Gomez on the finish of 2018/19 and confirmed early promise in persevering with in the identical vein of type in 2019/20 – the place robust defending was met with attacking prowess.
Then got here a knee damage, adopted by toe, thigh issues, again bother, a groin pressure and most just lately an ankle ligament damage that might prematurely finish his 2020/21 season.
It doesn’t make for good studying for the participant who turns 30 earlier than the brand new season beings and who now finds his activity to easily stay as an accessible choice for Klopp extra usually than he’s not.
Joel Matip’s Season Begins
- 2016/17: 30 (all comps)
- 2017/18: 31
- 2018/19: 26
- 2019/20: 11
- 2020/21: 11
All of it lends itself to a decisive season forward, the place Liverpool will likely be trying to fastidiously handle their centre-back division after the three senior choices they began final season with all sustained long-term accidents.
Out of motion because the finish of January, Matip can have not seen a aggressive motion in seven months by the point the brand new season rolls round and his pre-season foundations will likely be key.
“The one factor is we have now type of the timeframe and he will likely be again for pre-season,” Klopp stated again in February.
“That’s nice, then he’s had sufficient time, in all of the issues, then lastly may settle and have sufficient time to work on the precise issues which can make him even stronger for the long run.”
The important thing phrase there’s “stronger for the long run,” as whereas it’s close to on not possible to keep away from the unfortunate contact accidents in a match, preventative work off the pitch is clearly to dominate Matip’s schedule.
There was little suggestion of any plans to dump Matip, whose contract runs till 2024, however endurance is definitely sporting skinny as to his medium to long-term future at Anfield.
And now 5 years on from arriving at Liverpool, there’s time to make up for when the Reds kickstart the brand new season with himself, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate because the 4 key elements on the coronary heart of the defence.
The choice to not push for Ozan Kabak‘s everlasting keep, the mooted swap for Nat Phillips and mortgage spell for Rhys Williams factors to Matip being the fourth-choice centre-back this coming season.
It means a lot will nonetheless be requested of him whereas belief will proceed to waver over his health, however there isn’t a doubting his high quality when accessible to Klopp and his troubles have definitely made him an underrated determine.
The Reds will want him as they compete throughout 4 competitions and look to be reunited with some silverware and having not featured in over half of Liverpool’s video games since arriving, there’s loads of doubters to show fallacious – and there’s no time like the current.