Joel Matip one of Liverpool’s best in Premier League era says Jamie Carragher

BY MATTHEW WATKINSON

As one of Liverpool’s greatest central defenders himself, Jamie Carragher heralded Joel Matip as one of Liverpool’s top five centre halves of the Premier League era.

After excluding himself from his tweet about the Red’s top five centre-backs, the Liverpool legend showed his appreciation for Matip and his meteoric rise as one of Liverpool’s most important players since the arrival of Virgil van Dijk.

Ranking Liverpool’s centre-halves, the Sky Sports pundit put Van Dijk as the Red’s best Premier League defender, ahead of Sami Hypia, Daniel Agger, Stephane Henchoz and finally Matip.

Van Dijk has transformed Liverpool’s once fragile defence into arguably the best defence in Europe and after losing out at the FIFA Best awards, he is expected to be favourite for the Balon d’Or later this year.

Though the Dutchman has been at the forefront of Liverpool’s strong form, his centre-half partner Matip has long been in the shadow of his teammate but the Cameroon international is finally starting to recieve recognition for his consistent form.

Before Carragher’s recent praise, Ian Wright was also vocal in his praise for Liverpool’s centre-half on Match of the Day.

“He has (been 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…” the former Arsenal striker said.

“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,” said Wright after another man of the match display against newly promoted Sheffield United.

Though his performances within the last 12-months have been desirable, Matip struggled to have an impact in his first few seasons after joining Liverpool on a free transfer from Schalke in 2016.

Having been part of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool rebuild, he suffered several injuries in his opening two seasons that kept him behind the likes of Dejan Lovren and at times Joe Gomez in the pecking order.

Since the opening months of the 2018-19 season he has been a mainstay beside Van Dijk and has won the Champions League and the Super Cup, as well as being a core part to Liverpool’s unbeaten start to their Premier League campaign this term.

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