One player who could arrive to help solve Liverpool’s defensive crisis this January is Schalke centre-back Joel Matip.
The 24-year-old has been linked with a summer move to Anfield on a free transfer, with the Cameroon international not expected to sign a new deal at the Bundesliga club.
Liverpool have looked to sign Matip earlier though, with £4 million previously mooted as a possible figure to bring him to Merseyside this January.
With Martin Skrtel sidelined until the end of February, and Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho picking up injuries this week, it’s an idea the club are now set to explore again – although Schalke aren’t keen on letting Matip leave mid-season.
Perhaps if Schalke can find a replacement, that will change.
One thing’s for sure, Matip appears to be a good addition if Liverpool can sign him either now or in the summer.
Standing at almost 6′ 4″ he has the stature required to add aerial ability to the Liverpool defence – an attribute highlighted in the comparison below.
As shown in the stats above from Oulala.com, Matip wins more aerial duels per game than either of Sakho or Lovren, as well as making more tackles, more interceptions and blocks.
Of course, much of this could mean it’s because he’s a busier defender than Sakho and Lovren due to Schalke’s defensive struggles this season, conceding 23 goals in 17 games.
He also makes less defensive errors per game than the current Liverpool duo – this season at least.
Stats don’t tell the full story of course, but it looks Matip would be a good signing especially at the low price involved this month.