Writing for Liverpool.com, Dan Kay compared Joel Matip to Sami Hyypia, citing the latter’s reaction to bringing down Kaka near the penalty box in the 2005 Champions League final.
Both players arrived for next to nothing (Matip, quite literally so) and made names for themselves as effective defenders, despite the lack of furor around their arrivals.
“During Sunday night’s 4-0 win over Wolves they posted stills and a video of another classic Matip moment when the big defender, having been penalised by referee Craig Pawson, was aghast at the official’s decision and gestured pleadingly with arms outstretched at what he clearly felt was a rotten call,” Kay wrote. “Hyypiä, as was his wont, performed a similarly endearing exhortation [after taking down Kaka] to the referee, Manuel Mejuto González (who, fact fans, also officiated the iconic group stage win over Olympiacos earlier in the campaign and was clearly a lucky charm), with arms pleadingly outstretched a la Matip last weekend.”
Not much was expected of the Cameroonian when he first arrived in Merseyside, with his lanky form and reactions to refereeing injustices making the player stand out as a comical figure at the club.
You’ve all seen the ‘No Context Joel Matip‘ parody Twitter account – you know what we’re talking about, even though it is harmless fun; more affectionate than critical.
The No.32 has impressed of late alongside midfielder-turned-defender Fabinho in the centre of defence, with the pair registering three clean sheets in the last three games in which they both started on the pitch – Ajax, Leicester and Wolves.
Coincidental perhaps, but it’s interesting to note that the last four games in which the pair haven’t started together Liverpool took home three draws and a loss – Midtjylland, Brighton, Manchester City, and Atalanta.
The centre-back may provide some wonderful comic relief at times, but his recent efforts have echoed Hyypia’s ability to form successful defensive partnerships.
The former Schalke man is more valuable than we give him credit for.