There is rarely a game that goes by that Joel Matip does not go off on an adventure, leaving Reds, and Virgil van Dijk, eager for one of his brazen runs to end with a goal.
Liverpool’s No. 32 is a fan favourite for a myriad of reasons, but one that has taken centre stage this season is his progressive ball carries that has taken him on a number of adventures.
Against Brentford, Matip glided through the space, impressed with his tight ball control and got a shot away that left many desperate to see hit the net.
In the end, it was a tame effort, but he will not be without an opportunity to have another attempt considering he is currently ranked eighth in the Premier League for progressive carries.
And Van Dijk, one of Matip’s biggest fans, concedes he’d most likely be the happier of the two centre-backs if one of the 30-year-old’s runs ended in a goal.
“I’ll probably be more happy than he probably would be! I’ve obviously told him many times that he should try,” Van Dijk told the club’s official website.
“His dribbling is incredible, the braveness he has to do it and also to keep the ball as close as he can is incredible – that’s a quality of his.
“If that goal happens, then I’ll be very happy for him. I said to him already, if you believe in yourself, like I believe in him, then it could be going very well for him.”
Matip’s runs have become a much relied upon facet of Liverpool’s game and it has been a credit to his renewed reliability having already started 24 games this season – more than 2019/20 and 2020/21 combined.
He may have run into a fitness issue at Arsenal in the week to leave his place at Palace under doubt, but don’t expect the adventures to stop any time soon.
“If you look at the way we play, you need to mix things up. He’s got a lot of qualities that I don’t have, and the other way around – I’ve got a lot of qualities that he doesn’t have,” Van Dijk added on Matip’s importance.
“The way he steps in is very helpful when it’s difficult to break teams down and give a different dimension on how to break teams down.
“Obviously sometimes it works and sometimes maybe not, but that’s why you try to mix it up.
“We have a fantastic team full of quality, full of different assets that we can use to win games. It’s very important to use that as well.”