Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has defended Joel Matip amid criticism from a section of fans.
Matip has been a regular for the Reds so far this season despite the return of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez from injury, and despite the signing of Ibrahima Konate.
But on Wednesday night, he and Gomez were given a tough time by AC Milan, Liverpool winning 3-2 but not without a number of defensive lapses.
On the back of that performance, Matip has received criticism from some supporters, but Klopp has rejected it.
In his latest press conference, as detailed by the official club website, Klopp defended Matip.
“Look, I cannot help people who don’t see the quality of Joel Matip,” he said.
“That’s true, he was a bit unlucky in the past with an injury here and there – maybe not always the most difficult things but he is a big boy, a big player, tall and it can look from time to time a bit edgy or whatever.
“But he is an incredible player, he was always an incredible player since he joined us at least. So that’s really good.
“We needed the quality – we have now four, five top-class centre-halves and that’s good to have and necessary. But on that position when you only have two, sometimes they play 10, 12, 15 games in a row. They are maybe able to do that but if we don’t have to, why should we then?
“That’s why we have now the opportunity to make some changes there, and from time to time – not always – we have to make that and hope they all stay fit, then we will be fine in that position for sure.”
Matip’s starts early in this season have been a little surprising given the depth Klopp now has in the position, but it will be interesting to see where the Reds boss goes from here.
Konate looks set be introduced soon having watched from the bench so far, while the title-winning pairing of van Dijk and Gomez should also see plenty of minutes together.