Jurgen Klopp hails “super” Joel Matip for denying Liverpool “chaos”

Joel Matip may have been a surprise starter as Liverpool hosted West Ham, but Jurgen Klopp was rewarded with a “super performance” at centre-back.

Klopp made eight changes to his starting lineup from LASK in midweek, with Virgil van Dijk, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez the only players retained.

The majority of those who came in were expected, though the inclusion of Matip was less certain as Ibrahima Konate made his return from injury.

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old was trusted to start at Anfield, and came away having produced an excellent display against Michail Antonio.

Matip stayed tight to the West Ham striker throughout, not allowing him to turn and exploit the space behind Liverpool’s high line – it was essential, given the way Klopp sets his side up.

The manager acknowledged that in his post-match press conference, explaining how his No. 32 largely helped the Reds avoid “chaos.”

Joel Matip [had] a super performance against Antonio,” Klopp said.

“It’s a key moment in the game. They chip the ball there and I don’t know how often in the past we suffered when he could control the ball.

“Today he had it once or twice and immediately the chaos starts. [Matip] did that really well.”

Matip has already started four times this season, largely due to Konate’s injury, coming at the start of a campaign which many believe will be his last for Liverpool.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 16, 2023: Liverpool's Joël Matip during the FA Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and Liverpool FC at Molineux Stadium. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

His contract is due to expire next summer and reports suggest he will be allowed to leave on a free transfer instead of being offered an extension.

But while Matip – and, to a lesser extent, Joe Gomez – has found himself shunted to the periphery in recent years, and down in the estimations of fans as a result, he is still capable of showing his worth.

That came again on Sunday, with the Cameroonian stepping up to the challenge of a cocksure Antonio and emerging as a key part of Liverpool’s latest victory.