Liverpool defender Joel Matip came in for criticism from some journalists over his role in the lead-up to an early goal for Wolves in today’s Premier League clash.
The home side struck inside seven minutes at Molineux, with Hwang Hee-chang dispatching the ball over the goalline despite Alisson’s best efforts to prevent it from crossing the line.
The assist was provided by Pedro Neto, who ghosted past the Reds defender with ease before crossing to the South Korean attacker.
Peter Smith was providing live updates on the match for Sky Sports, and he wrote (12:39): “Matip won’t be happy to have been by-passed by Neto and [Andy] Robertson may feel he should have beaten Hwang to it but Wolves have made their positive start count!”
On Twitter/X, BBC Sport contributor Raj Chohan opined: “Matip way too weak in his 1v1 defending nowadays. Easy for Neto. Reminiscent of how Mitoma torched him last season and Gnabry torched him in pre-season.”
Matip had been largely excellent in Liverpool’s two matches prior to the international break, performing commendably against Newcastle and Aston Villa, but as Smith said, he won’t be happy with how easily Neto got past him to set up Hwang for the opening goal at Molineux.
As the senior centre-back partner to Jarell Quansah, who’s making his first start for the Reds today, we’d have been hoping for the 32-year-old to have made a more assured start than this.
However, the team as a whole started the game poorly, with Wolves dominant in the opening 20 minutes against a side who’d collected 10 points from the first 12 available this season.
Matip and co will be looking to do a whole lot better in order to ensure that Liverpool can build up their bright start to the campaign, rather than letting it fizzle out.