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Crooks heaps praise on Joel Matip

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Garth Crooks has heaped praise on Liverpool centre-back Joel Matip after his display against Southampton on Saturday. 

Matip made his Premier League bow on the south coast after being benched for the opening day win against Norwich and impressed enough to get into Crooks’ team of the week.

The BBC pundit said that Matip is the player who does the dirty work for Liverpool, making last-gasp tackles while Virgil van Dijk is “strolling around looking like he’s just returned from a week in Vegas”.

Writing in his BBC column, Crooks said: “Whenever Joel Matip plays for Liverpool he appears to be the one who is making all the last-ditch tackles, getting the ball smashed in his face and coming to Liverpool’s aid in a crisis.

“Meanwhile, Virgil van Dijk looks beautifully groomed, hair swept back in a ponytail, strolling around looking like he’s just returned from a week in Vegas! Matip must get Van Dijk to do his share of the heavy lifting when the Reds are up against it away from home.

“I know Matip is the junior partner here but, come on, fair is fair.”


Matip proved his worth to Liverpool last season and it was a bit surprising to see him left out of the side last week. He had a great game against Southampton and helped his side secure the three points in a game where they could have slipped up. The win sees them top the table after Man City dropped two points against Tottenham. According to WhoScored, Matip was rated higher than van Dijk (a score of 7.3 to 6.8) and was the fourth-best player on the pitch behind Andrew Robertson, Roberto Firmino and man-of-the-match Sadio Mané. He won 100% of his nine defensive duels in the game (wyscout) and four of his six aerial duels. By comparison, van Dijk had just one defensive duel all match and won five of his eight aerial duels. Matip was certainly doing the heavy lifting on Saturday. Liverpool play Arsenal next, which will be their biggest test of the season so far, and we think Matip will have done enough to retain his place at the back.

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