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Liverpool fans split on Joel Matip’s future – but majority rules on Nat Phillips

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There is a 50-50 split among Liverpool fans when it comes to whether Joel Matip should be kept at the club, with a more emphatic result on the future of Nat Phillips.

Phillips played alongside a number of different centre-back partners in his breakthrough season with the Reds, namely Joe Gomez, Fabinho, Rhys Williams, Ozan Kabak and Jordan Henderson.

There was no time as partner to Matip, however, with the No. 32 having spent the majority of the campaign on the treatment table as thigh, back, groin and ankle injuries kept him sidelined.

It has been the story of the past two years for Matip, who played 13 times in 2019/20 and 12 times in 2020/21, and paired with season-ending injuries to Gomez and Virgil van Dijk last term, patience is wearing thin.

While there is little suggestion Matip will be sold this summer, it is worth asking the question of whether he should have a long-term role under Jurgen Klopp given his availability issues.

As part of This Is Anfield’s ‘Keep or Sell?’ survey, supporters were asked if Matip should be kept at Liverpool or moved on.

Remarkably, of over 6,000 voters, there was no clear answer as 50 percent voted ‘keep’ and 50 voted ‘sell’, with a 21-vote split of 3,038 to 3,017.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 6, 2020: Liverpool's Joel Matip (R) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We should keep Matip, he’s world class when fit,” came one comment, though another answered: “But he’s rarely fit, to be honest. [He is] injured 75 percent of a season.”

Another described the centre-back as “too injury prone to keep,” with one presenting Nikola Maksimovic, soon to leave Napoli as a free agent, as a “no-cost option” to replace him.

“Matip will stay due to lack of offers, his wages and long-term contract,” came a realistic response.

“[I] would keep Matip even if it’s for 10 games as now we have sufficient cover in Phillips and Konate.”

The role of Phillips is under debate this summer, as despite having stepped up to an impressive standard in Liverpool’s injury crisis last season, the arrival of Ibrahima Konate has cast his future in doubt.

With Matip, Van Dijk and Gomez all due back fit for pre-season, Phillips faces the prospect of dropping back to at least fifth choice.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 23, 2021: Liverpool's Nathaniel Phillips during the final FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0 and finished 3rd in the table. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Having tasted life as a regular starter in the Premier League, the 24-year-old could be forgiven for seeking a first-choice role elsewhere in the top flight.

That would come against the wishes of supporters, though, with 78 percent voting to keep Phillips as part of Klopp’s squad heading into 2021/22.

Similarly, Rhys Williams was given the backing of voters, with 61 percent wanting him to stay.

For Ben Davies it was less positive, with 60 percent pushing for his sale after failing to make an appearance following his arrival from Preston.

Davies is claimed to have the support of Klopp, which could indicate a role in the side next season, but going four months without a game while there was a clear struggle at centre-backs is not a convincing case.

As it stands, it seems likely that Van Dijk, Gomez, Konate and Matip will all stay part of the first team, with Phillips the most feasible fifth choice.

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