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With Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel out injured, Liverpool were in dire need of defensive reinforcements, but Jurgen Klopp, amidst rumours linking him with Schalke centre-back Joel Matip, bafflingly brought down Steven Caulker from Queens Park Rangers on loan in the January transfer window.
However, the Merseyside outfit soon announced that Matip would join them in the summer.
What he brings to the plate
Standing at 6’4″ tall, Matip offers an aerial presence during set pieces on both ends and has notched 13 goals through set pieces since his breakthrough into the Royal Blues’ at a tender age of 18. Besides, he also averages one goal every ten games.
Despite playing for a Champions League regular and alongside Benedict Howedes and Matija Nastasic, the Schalke academy product has consistently been the best player on the pitch, often earning the MOTM award.
In addition, he is pacy for a player of his height; he will likely complement Sakho or Lovren excellently.
What the Kops should be wary of
Despite being critically acclaimed, the 24-year-old earned a reputation of committing blunders early into his career; however, he has lately shown massive progress, averaging only as little as 1.25 errors in the past four seasons.
The Kops shall be slow to judge their summer arrival as Lovren, a player who arrived with a similar history, has failed them by consistently underperforming.
What Schalke faithful feel about the transfer
Schalke supporters vented out their frustration on social media, with a majority of them stating the Veltins-Arena outfit had lost their best player over the past couple of seasons.
Though a very few appeared to be happy with his departure, their claims were purely sure grapes as despair clearly outweighed rejoice.
Will he fit into a Klopp team?
Klopp tried to sign the then-injury prone wunderkind whilst at Borussia Dortmund only for the local rivalry between Schalke and Dortmund to put off the deal, and the German’s decision to make him only his second permanent signing speaks volumes about his faith in the Cameroon international.
With Kolo Toure leaving for free and Skrtel standing on the wrong side of 30, Klopp will likely field a centre-back partnership of Matip and Sakho, though Lovren may replace the latter in the event of him maintaining his fine form.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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