“At the beginning of the season I was struggling with injuries and other lads did very well, so there was no reason to change,” Matip admitted.
“But in the second half I could play and could improve. I feel good.
“You are waiting for this. And then if you can use it, it’s not a bad feeling – it’s not the worst feeling.”
After fracturing his collarbone back in December, Matip missed a month of football. Since then he’s started 19 of our past 22 games in all competitions and put in some truly majestic performances.
To step up from fourth-choice and make such strides in partnership with Van Dijk is hugely impressive. Matip was a free transfer from Schalke back in 2016 and his performances have actually been commensurably priceless.
With Joe Gomez fracturing his leg in December and Dejan Lovren also struggling with injuries, the 27-year-old stepped up when we needed him and been an absolute force at the back for us.
Joel Matip is a top fella
Even here, he barely indulges himself about his class form & even states how good Joe Gomez was at the start of the season. He could also easily be bitter about how a far inferior CB like Lovren has been picked ahead of him in the past. Not a hint of it
— Raj Chohan (@rajsinghchohan) May 22, 2019
At the start of the season, no one would have said that Matip would start a Champions League final, but now look where he is? It’s likely that few would disagree with that opinion today.
Training with the rest of the Reds in Marbella for European showdown against Tottenham in Madrid, the Cameroonian centre-back gushed, “It was a great season and we can finish it. It’s the biggest game during this season and we will do everything for this.”
Matip played the full 90 minutes in our last game against Spurs, but only came on as a last-minute sub for Trent Alexander-Arnold when we beat them 2-1 back in September.
“It will be a completely different game,” he admitted, “but we know we can beat them and we are looking forward.”
The showdown on June 1st could see us lift European silverware for the sixth time but it will also be the first trophy Jürgen Klopp will left as Liverpool boss.
Matip was Klopp’s second signing at Anfield – if it’s down to him that Jürgen tastes success, there’ll be a certain amount of poetry to it.