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  • Billy Wooldridge

Liverpool's Joel Matip crucial in quadruple hopes

In Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s side were able to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 12 games, in which they have only conceded six goals.


The plaudits for the Reds’ brilliant defensive displays will understandably go to Virgil Van Dijk and the flying full-backs either side of him, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. However there is an unsung hero who completes Liverpool’s back four.


Joël Matip has started 25 of Liverpool’s 31 Premier League games this season, helping keep 14 clean sheets with only two of those games ending in defeat.


The experienced former Schalke defender has largely held onto his place in Klopp’s strongest XI despite the signing of 21-year-old Ibrahima Konaté for £34m from RB Leipzig last summer.


Matip good form earned him the Premier League player of the month award in February after consecutive wins and three clean sheets against Leicester, Burnley, Norwich and Leeds, along with a goal against the latter.


Van Dijk is one of the best centre backs in the world, and it might be tempting that Matip’s brilliant form is only due to the presence of the Dutchman, however the statistics show that it isn’t all down to their partnership.


When Van Dijk injured his knee ligaments last season, Matip stepped up and showed his class and helped Liverpool embark on an unbeaten run of 12 games.


But when Matip got injured in January 2021, Liverpool went on to lose six of their next eight matches, scraping a fourth placed finish on the final day of the season.


The loss of Van Dijk was only truly felt when Matip was out, showing how important he has become to keeping this Liverpool team together.


Now with a fully fit and firing squad, Liverpool are aiming for a historic quadruple as they remain in the running for the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup after February’s League Cup triumph.


With the presence of a fit Matip in the back line, Klopp has extra reason to be confident that his men can add to their silverware tally this season.


They take their next steps on Wednesday against Benfica, where Klopp may choose to rest Matip, to keep him fit for Saturday’s FA Cup reunion with Manchester City.

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