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Liverpool ‘agree deal in principle’ for centre-back Joel Matip

Schalke defender Joel Matip will sign a pre-contract agreement with Liverpool ahead of a free transfer move this summer.

18.09.2011, Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, GER, 1. FBL, FC Schalke 04 vs FC Bayern Muenchen, im Bild Zweikampf Joel Matip (#32 Schalke) - Nils Petersen (#9 Muenchen)// during 1. FBL FC Schalke 04 vs FC Bayern Muenchen at Veltins Arena, Gelsenkirchen, GER, 2011-09-18. EXPA Pictures © 2011, PhotoCredit: EXPA/ nph/ Kurth ****** out of GER / CRO / BEL ******

According to reports on Wednesday, Matip will become a Reds player once his contract with the Bundesliga side expires at the end of the season.

It is reproted that the highly-rated centre-back has already agreed a deal in principle.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is said to be an admirer of the 24-year-old and sees him as someone to add some steel and all-round quality to his side’s much-maligned defence.

Steven Caulker has been signed on loan until the end of the season, following an injury crisis at centre-back, but that looks as though it may well be a stop-gap transfer in the months leading up to Matip’s arrival.

Matip has outshone both Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren when it comes to aerial duels and tackles won so far this season, as well as interceptions, blocks and errors per game.

A strong tackler who also possesses quality on the ball and aerial strength, the Cameroon international looks the perfect fit for Liverpool.

His considerable frame (6’4) would give Klopp’s men some much-needed presence at both attacking and defending set-pieces; something that has been an issue at Anfield ever since Sami Hyypia’s departure.

Matip also has pace in abundance, which is an attribute none of the current Reds centre-backs are exactly known for.

Using him in his preferred right-sided centre-back role alongside Sakho is likely to be in Klopp’s thinking, although Martin Skrtel and Lovren are not to be written off.

The signing of Matip represents an exciting piece of business by Liverpool, and bodes well ahead of what could be a pivotal summer of spending.

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