Liverpool’s legendary centre-back Sami Hyypia has hailed fellow defender Joel Matip
Matip, who joined on a free transfer from Schalke in the summer has quickly become one of Jurgen Klopp’s key players this season.
The Cameroonian is yet to lose a single game with the Reds in 14 appearances, having missed the defeats to Burnley and Bournemouth through injury.
And Sami Hyypia, who spent 10 successful years with Liverpool has hailed the Reds defender :
“I knew him from Germany, I think I played against him and then managed Leverkusen when he was at Schalke. He’s a good player. He’s a big guy, dominant player, very comfortable on the ball and that’s a big piece of how the team plays. ” he said to the club’s official website.
“When you want to play football, you need to have somebody who is comfortable on the ball and on the other hand a strong defender. His style of play is that he is comfortable on the ball but I think that comes from confidence, he is very confident that he can play football.”
“If you want to see similarities, I think there are some – but I think he’s a bit quicker than me!”
Matip has brought a level of calm and composure to Liverpool that their defence has not had for years. He is always on hand to make important clearances, and has been a key factor in Liverpool’s strong start to the season.
At 6″5 he is a commanding presence in the box both during set-pieces and in open play. It is no coincidence that Liverpool have lost the games that Matip has been absent for, as the Reds have struggled to gain the same sort of defensive solidarity no matter who they pair at the back.
The similarities with Sami Hyypia don’t end there. Matip seems like a classic “no-nonsense” defender. The Reds’ defender doesn’t seem fazed by outside influences or opponents, and isn’t scared of saying it.
Matip has also clearly placed huge importance on succeeding with Liverpool first, as he recently admitted that he had turned down a call-up to the African Cup of Nations to stay at Merseyside. This will no doubt endear him even more to Liverpool fans, who will see this as the kind of show of loyalty that Sami Hyypia had for his beloved club.
They will also be hoping that Matip keeps up his level of excellence and stays at the Reds for a long time to come – just like Sami Hyypia. If his performances and actions thus far are an indicator of what’s to come, they might just get their wish.