Joel Matip

Joel Matip
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Joel Matip

Current Club: Liverpool.

Previous Clubs: FC Schalke 04, VfL Bochum, SC Weitmar.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Cameroon 27 caps 1 goal.

Trophies Won: European Champions League 2018/19. German Cup 2010/11. UEFA Supercup 2019. German Super Cup 2011/12.

Matip is probably the most improved player of last season (2018/19) when he was fighting for his place, he turned from a languid, laid-back ball-playing centre-back, to a hard-working, aggressive centre-half who could also pick a pass and bring the ball out from the back.

That aggression and graft has elevated his game to a whole new level. From a defender who was great on the ball but suspect defensively, he became a defender who was good on the ball but excellent defensively. No longer was his recovery pace a problem, he was dominating forwards in the air and on the ground and Matip's weakness was just his acceleration, as he is a little slow off the mark against a nippy striker.

His new-found aggression could sometimes lead to him allowing himself to be pulled too far forward to try and win the ball high up the pitch. That is rarely a problem though, as he usually wins the ball when he does get dragged up there, making the risk more often than not worth taking.

The big worry now with Matip is his fragility, he spends long periods on the sidelines each season, even though he is no longer playing international football and so can use the international breaks to rest and recover. That does make it a major concern that he is quite so injury-prone, especially in a team that plays so many matches and can ill-afford to be missing a player of his quality for extended periods.

At the age of 28 his body should be at its peak, which suggests that the injury issue is only likely to get worse in the future. Matip can take a lot of credit in that he has improved his game to such an extent that now it is a worry when he is not playing, rather than when he is!

Requested by - SkySaleh