Arsenal legend Ian Wright was all praise for Liverpool defender Joel Matip following yesterday’s win against Sheffield United.
The Reds registered their first win at Bramall Lane since 1990 but the Blades gave them a tough fight. In the end, a goal from Georginio Wijnaldum won the match for Liverpool but they were lucky as Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson was unable to hold on to the Dutchman’s shot.
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The Reds dominated in possession but their opponents made it very tough for them defensively and offensively. Sheffield United had a couple of scoring opportunities but the Liverpool defenders kept them at bay.
The likes of Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold were terrific and so was Matip. The Cameroonian centre-back has been justifying time and again why he deserves a start ahead of Joe Gomez. Yesterday, he produced a fine performance at the heart of defence, making some crucial challenges.
Following the match, Wright hailed the 28-year-old. As quoted by Metro, the former Arsenal striker said: “He has [been hugely influential] and he signed a new contract this month and you know the front guys will get the plaudits but it’s performances like this. People like Matip and Van Dijk… they can’t afford to have off days just like the forwards did at present.
“In defence he was absolutely brilliant. And when he didn’t have the option to pass it forward he just ran it forward with confidence. Brilliant play. He was absolutely brilliant today. Obviously people always talk about Virgil and Trent [Alexander-Arnold] and [Andy] Robertson but today he was brilliant.”
Matip is often underappreciated at Liverpool but there’s no denying that he has been vital to the team’s performances in the past 7-8 months. Given how he is performing, it will be hard for Joe Gomez to find a place in the playing XI.
The 28-year-old should start in Liverpool’s next fixture against Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday. The Reds will be eager to register their first win in the Champions League this season after losing 2-0 to Napoli in their opening group game.