While Joel Matip has been tentatively linked with a move from Liverpool this summer, the centre-back is more likely to leave on a free next year.
Though fit for the majority of the campaign, Matip found himself something of a spare part for large portions of Liverpool’s season just gone.
He made the matchday squad on 39 occasions, but only started 17 games, coming off the bench four times and going unused in 18 – featuring in only five of the last 19 fixtures.
However, The Athletic‘s James Pearce reports that the “expectation” is the 31-year-old will instead see out the final year of his deal before departing on a free transfer in 2024.
Matip finds himself in the same boat as Thiago, then, with the pair into their early 30s and not due to be offered an extension on their current terms.
Liverpool could see their resolve tested on either player, of course, but sizeable offers for Matip may not be in the offing.
The centre-back arrived on a free transfer from Schalke in 2016, as one of Jurgen Klopp‘s first signings, and has been an integral player in the club’s success.
Despite ongoing injuries, he has played 187 times in seven seasons, including more than 30 appearances in each of his first three campaigns and a record 43 in the quadruple challenge of 2021/22.
At times, he has found himself underrated, particularly during extended runs in the side, but the emergence of Konate has seen him forced into the periphery.
With no move anticipated for Joe Gomez – who signed a new five-year contract last summer knowing his place as first choice was not guaranteed – Matip could now be phased out in favour of a new addition.
His influence will still be valuable in what should be his final season at Anfield, though, even if many of his starts come in the domestic cups.
Allowing Matip to leave for nothing will not be seen as a loss for Liverpool, given he joined on a free himself seven years ago.