Joel Matip believes that the break in action during the World Cup was a good thing for Liverpool and has allowed him and the rest of Jurgen Klopp’s squad to get back to their strengths.
The FA Cup champions were last in competitive action on November 12 when they defeated Southampton at Anfield, and although the Reds played against Lyon on Sunday and will face AC Milan tomorrow, their next competitive fixture is on December 22 when they travel to the Etihad to face Manchester City in the League Cup.
The former Schalke defender played the first 45 minutes of our 3-1 defeat to the French outfit at the weekend but he’s ‘looking forward’ to the return of domestic football.
“It’s something special to have a big break during the season like this but for us, it maybe wasn’t too bad to have to get a few more players in the team, to reorganise and to get back to our strengths,” the No. 32 told talkSPORT.
“For me especially, because I was injured, it gives me some extra time and some games. It will be tough for every team and we’ll see who gets the better restart but we’re looking forward to it and the team is looking good.”
Liverpool are currently sixth in the Premier League table and 15 points behind league leaders Arsenal.
Despite their inconsistent start to the campaign, however, the Cameroonian is ‘not in doubt’ about the quality of his teammates.
“If somebody starts struggling then the voices on the outside always get louder but I have all the confidence in my teammates and the club that we are still a strong side and can beat everyone,” he added.
“I’m not in doubt about the quality of our team. People outside will speak but to be honest I don’t care too much about these types of things.
“I trust my teammates and believe in them so I think we’re heading back where we belong.”
After we defeated City in the Community Shield back in July, many expected us to once again challenge for the Premier League title.
But although we’ve only win six of our 14 games in the league this term, Matip is confident that this season can still be a successful one for the Merseysiders.
He said: “So far we don’t have to speak about the title, we just have to improve and then we’ll see where we end up.
“If you want to win the Premier League then the time period we have it’s not possible, but we just want to improve and get better and then we’ll see where we end up at the end.
“At Liverpool you always want to win everything. We’re still in every competition, even if the Premier League is really far away. There’s a lot of competitions and a lot of points to gain.
“We’re far away from saying that we don’t care about the Premier League and that other things are more important. We just want to get as many points as possible and beat everyone, so we’ll see.”
Despite the result on Sunday, it was great to see the 31-year-old back in action against Lyon.
The last time he featured competitively for Klopp’s side was during the 3-2 loss to Arsenal in October and keeping him fit will be vitally important if we’re looking to pick up more silverware this term.
Ibou Konate has been in superb form for France during the World Cup so you’d have every right to argue that he may be Klopp’s preferred partner for Virgil Van Dijk at centre half, but if we’re hoping to be competitive on all four fronts once again this season, all the players in our squad will need to be ready when called upon.