Jurgen Klopp saluted Joel Matip as one of his best signings at Liverpool following the Cameroonian defender’s emergence as a regular at centre-back this season.
Matip, 28, joined Liverpool in 2016 having come through the ranks at Schalke, where he was a first-team starter as young as 18.
He made 49 Premier League starts across his first two campaigns in the Premier League, but often found himself out of the side last term as Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez offered competition.
However, this season Matip has played all but one of Liverpool’s six Premier League games, seemingly establishing himself as the first-choice partner of Virgil van Dijk ahead of Gomez.
And Klopp commended the Germany-born centre-back’s development since joining on a free transfer, rating him as one of his finest signings.
BIG. JOEL. MATIP.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) September 24, 2019
“Joel was always an incredible talent,” Klopp told reporters on Friday. “He played as an 18-year-old boy for Schalke in the Bundesliga. It’s maybe not such a respected league in England, but it’s a strong league and he played there, and was always a standout player, a fixed point in defence.
“Yes, he lacked a little bit of consistency, that can happen especially with his physical stature. I’m also tall, we [tall people] don’t always look sensational when we move, but he grew and developed.
“In a world of big transfer fees, to sign a player like Joel Matip on a free transfer is incredible. It was maybe one of the best pieces of business we did in the last few years.
“When Joel played or Dejan played, they are really good players. We have no issue in that position.
“That doesn’t mean they are perfect and won’t make mistakes, but they won’t make them too often. Joel is in a really good moment. Long, long may it continue.”
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