Liverpool managed to increase their impressive goals record in the Premier League so far this season after beating Watford 5-0 at Vicarage Road over the weekend, taking their total to 22 goals scored in just eight league games, higher than any other club in the top flight.
Taking the focus away from Liverpool’s impressive attacking power, one player that we think should be in the starting XI to face Diego Simeone’s side is Reds defender Joel Matip, who has recently been described as being a “top-class” player by Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool centre-back Jamie Carragher.
Speaking about him on MNF this week, the ex-defender continued: “He has actually probably been better than Virgil van Dijk this season.”
Matip joined Liverpool on a free transfer from German club Schalke back in the 2016 summer window. Since then, the 30-year-old, who is earns a weekly salary of £125k-per-week according to Spotrac, has made a total of 132 appearances for the Reds across all competitions in which he has managed to chip in with six goals and three assists.
So far this season, Matip has played in all but one of Liverpool’s Premier League games, proving himself to be an important figure for the Reds.
In Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against Manchester City, Matip once again proved how much of a defensive unit he is for the club after making four interceptions, three tackles, blocked two shots and made one clearance. That ultimately earned himself an impressive overall match rating of 7.5/10, higher than any other Liverpool defender on the day according to SofaScore.
Taking all of this into account, we feel that Matip should definitely start against Atletico as he has shown he has what it takes to be a tough defensive opponent against high-class opposition. Keeping in mind his form this term, the Cameroon international could bully some of Atletico’s attacking players such as Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix among others.
However, with Liverpool having a big clash against Manchester United in the Premier League at the weekend, there’s every possibility that Klopp could save Matip for that game and give him a rest in midweek. After all, they do have summer signing Ibrahima Konate in their ranks. However, we think the former should definitely be in the starting XI this evening; he may be decisive.