Joel Matip believes Liverpool are ready to “start quickly” in “weird” Merseyside derby

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Joel Matip has explained how Liverpool are preparing to “start quickly” on their return to Premier League action on Sunday, for what will be a “weird” Merseyside derby.

The English top flight resumed on Wednesday night with Aston Villa’s controversial 0-0 draw with Sheffield United and Man City‘s comfortable 3-0 win over Arsenal.

There was a much different complexion to the Premier League as players took a knee before kickoff, celebrations were restrained and virtual fans were on show as games were held behind closed doors.

It is, as Matip attests, a “weird” situation as clubs get accustomed to the ‘new normal’, but after over three months without a game, the centre-back believes Liverpool are ready to hit the ground running.

“I think every game would be difficult, it doesn’t matter who we play against,” he told the club’s official website.

“Now we play against Everton and this is a special game for both teams, but to start again I think will be a weird and special moment for every team.

“I think it doesn’t matter which team we played against or what were the circumstances.

“We just try to prepare as best as possible to be ready there and to really start quickly from the first second when we are back on the pitch, back in the stadium, for a proper Premier League game.

“It’s a great feeling to be back on the ball and [to be] looking forward to being back on the pitch and to play proper games. It will be fantastic to be back on the field.

“I think the circumstances for every team are quite difficult but we are well prepared and I am confident that we can strike back.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 24, 2019: Liverpool's Joel Matip celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Matip is not expected to start at Goodison Park, with Joe Gomez due to partner Virgil van Dijk at the back, but the 28-year-old has maintained Liverpool’s ‘one game at a time’ attitude.

This comes with the Reds just six points away from the title, with Everton and Crystal Palace their first two chances to tally those, and continuing, Matip stressed that they would not hold up even when that is achieved.

“We prepared to play all the games and do this in the best way that we can,” he added.

“Nobody will stop when we achieve something, we are just looking to the next game and the next game and that’s how we do it at the moment.

“Everybody is looking forward to being back on the pitch and to win points and to win. We had to wait like everybody else but the whole team is just waiting to get some more points.

“It was weird to be waiting and to be that close, but you never know what could have happened.

“We are happy that we can now start playing again and we just try to do the best out of it.”

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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