Joel Matip has welcomed Virgil van Dijk to the club, even though the £75m Dutchman might take his spot in the side…
For that amount of money, van Dijk will obviously become Liverpool’s first-choice central defender, meaning in Jurgen Klopp’s regular back-four, there’ll likely be just one spot available.
When everyone’s fit, Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan will have to compete for this role – before mentioning Joe Gomez – who wants to play CB long-term as well.
“He’s a very good centre-back,” Matip told the Echo.
“Having more quality in the squad is a good thing. Of course it means more competition but that’s what you expect at a big club like Liverpool.
“In every position we have a lot of choice. That will help us going forward. Competition pushes players on.
“I don’t think one player or two players can play all the games back there.
“I don’t think there will be a fixed system (at centre-back).
“Everyone will have a part to play as we compete in different competitions. I’m not worried about this.”
In fairness, Matip’s probably right.
Klopp’s one of the only managers who regularly rotates central defensive partnerships, seemingly seeing little benefit in the same players alongside each other two times per week.
Maybe with van Dijk though, an obvious choice to start next to him will emerge…
Long-term, Gomez could be the best option, but he’s made mistakes himself this year and doesn’t receive nearly the criticism of his older team-mates.
As Matip suggests, we think all the centre-backs will get chances together now, as Klopp tries to weed out the weakest link before the summer.