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The first arrival of Liverpool‘s summer overhaul could be Joel Matip after it was reported the defender rejected a new contract with Schalke.
But who is he, how would he fit into Jurgen Klopp’s plans and, vitally, is he an upgrade on players already at the club? Everything you need to know is answered below…
Who is he?
A 24-year-old centre-back, Matip has made almost 200 appearances for Schalke since making his debut as an 18-year-old in 2009. Matip began life as a defensive midfielder and has also played at full-back making him versatile and giving him a good understanding of the game but he made his name in the heart of defence and is considered one of the Bundesliga’s best young defenders.
What’s his situation?
Matip’s contract with Schalke finishes on 30 June meaning he will be available as a free agent. Technically he is able to agree a deal with Liverpool or any other non-Bundesliga club already and there are reports an agreement is in place although nothing has been confirmed.
Is he what Liverpool need?
Only five clubs have conceded more goals than Liverpool in the Premier League so defensive upgrades are a necessity. Two of Matip’s key attributes are his pace and ability to read the game, making him suited to playing a high line – a prominent tactic of Jurgen Klopp’s. He is also comfortable on the ball and has made more successful passes than any of Liverpool’s senior centre-backs this season.
How does he compare to what Liverpool already have?
In a direct comparison with Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and Kolo Toure so far this season, Matip has won more tackles and aerial duels, and made more interceptions and blocks so you would have to say he could improve Liverpool’s defensive options.
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