Liverpool’s rise in the last season as been mainly been down to their defensive improvement – with the signing of Alisson Becker adding to the previous addition of Virgil Van Dijk.
Add to that the dynamic duo of full-back pairing of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson who have been phenomenal in adding assists from all areas of the parks while keeping the defence tight at the same time.
The player that has been widely ignored in Liverpool’s defensive resurgence has been Joel Matip. The ball-playing central defender has enjoyed a great season next to Van Dijk and has proved himself to be a great asset in improving his sides defensive woes.
BT Pundit Rio Ferdinand agreed with that saying he deserves the right to start in Saturday’s Champions League final against Tottenham. The ex-England international said on their final preview show: “In the two games against Barcelona, was one of the best players on the pitch – so he has staked his claim in a fantastic fashion there.
“This guy is in form, he has not let them down and I think he has earned the right to go in there and play alongside Virgil”.
Ferdinand is absolutely right to praise the impact that Matip has had on this Liverpool side and the defender is fully deserved of a spot in Saturday’s final against Spurs.
His performance in the second leg at Anfield against Barcelona was exemplary, he brought the ball forward with purpose and had a hand in nearly every move that started from defence.
The £100,00ok per-week [source: Spotrac] enforcer averages 61.78 passes per-game and his involvement in Jurgen Klopp’s side has improved every single year throughout his career at Anfield.
Mistakes are a problem that can define a defender’s career and the 27-year-old has made zero this season and he is fully deserved of a potential spot in the Madrid final.
He might not be the flashiest Liverpool star, but Ferdinand is right to be singing his praises.