BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks has heaped huge praise on Liverpool defender Joel Matip for the way he played against Cardiff City at the weekend.
The 27-year-old has not always been first choice for Jurgen Klopp’s side, but has proven a reliable backup this season in the absence of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren.
Despite one or two shaky moments earlier in his Liverpool career, Matip now looks a more solid and calm presence alongside Virgil van Dijk at the back, so much so that Crooks put him in his team of the week this week in his BBC Sport column.
The pundit also lavished Matip with praise for the way he performed in Wales, in what could prove a key performance in this season’s title race, with the win sending Liverpool back to the top of the Premier League table.
‘I don’t normally look beyond Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s back four when clean sheets have been maintained and matches won, but on this occasion I think I have to. Joel Matip was superb against Cardiff and overshadowed even the brilliant Van Dijk,’ Crooks said.
‘Matip’s defending has been much more considered since the arrival of the Dutchman – but it’s the quality of his distribution that has left me speechless.’
LFC fans will certainly be delighted that their squad players have been able to contribute when they’ve been brought in, with a long and gruelling season requiring even backups to be at their very best when called upon.