Ian Doyle singled out Joel Matip for praise during the first half of Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Manchester City, likening the defender’s forays to a South American legend.
The Reds went in at half-time trailing 1-0 but asked a few questions of the home side in the first 45 minutes.
The Cameroonian centre-half helped to create one of his team’s best chances when he surged forward to the edge of the City penalty area and played the ball to Mo Salah. He crossed to Darwin Nunez, whose header was expertly saved by Ederson.
In his half-time player ratings for the Liverpool Echo, Doyle awarded Matip 7, writing that the 32-year-old “embraced his inner Messi with some forays out from the back” and was “decisive defensively”.
Matip’s enterprise in surging forward with the ball has become a thing of legend throughout his time at Liverpool, and that wasn’t the only standout feature of his first-half performance today.
As per Sofascore, the defender won 100% of his duels, made three clearances and one tackle, blocked one shot and completed 22 of his 27 passes (81% success).
It’s not everyday that a centre-back earns comparisons to Lionel Messi, but such is the marauding nature of the Reds’ number 32 that his dribbling ability isn’t wholly unlike the Argentine World Cup winner.
If Matip can further emulate the 36-year-old by finding the net, Liverpool might yet get something from today’s game (at the time of writing).