We can’t expect every Liverpool player to stop accepting international call-ups.. But it would be nice!
Joel Matip, our Bosman summer signing, has refused to play for Cameroon at this January’s African Cup of Nations, meaning he’ll be available throughout the busy winter period – unlike Sadio Mane – who’ll be selected by Senegal.
(We’re not saying Mane should’ve done the same; merely pointing out fact!)
The 26-year-old centre-back has been easily our best defender this season and the stats heavily support this theory.
In the eleven Premier League games he’s featured in, we’ve conceded nine and remain unbeaten, while we’ve let in nine goals and lost two of the three games he’s missed!
Thankfully, Matip is fit and will start against West Ham at Anfield this Sunday evening. According to the player, who’s lived most his life in Germany, his ambition to impress at his new club was the primary motivation for not playing at the AFCON.
“It’s not an easy decision but I want to concentrate on Liverpool. I want to be [here],” he told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I want to focus on Liverpool and that’s what I had to decide. I think I took the right decision.”
We look a far, far better side with Matip at the heart of defence. Hopefully, his influence can propel us to three points today and help shore up the defence from now until Christmas.