Liverpool moved to just three points behind Manchester City in the Premier League table this afternoon, after beating Brighton away from home at the AMEX Stadium.
A brave header from Luis Diaz and a penalty from Mohamed Salah ensured victory for the Reds, who have once again piled pressure on the league leaders who face Crystal Palace away from home on Monday night.
However, the best performance of the game came from centre-back Joel Matip, who helped keep the very real Brighton threat at bay with an excellent defensive performance, earning him the highest match rating from the game with a 7.9 according to SofaScore.
On top of his assist, he completed four of his other six long balls that he attempted – which really troubled Brighton particularly when it came from a diagonal angle to find either Trent-Alexander Arnold or Andy Robertson.
Continuing on from his solid recent form which earned him the Premier League Player of the Month award, created Diaz’ goal with a perfect long ball over the top forward.
Once hailed as a “dominant” player by former Reds hero Sami Hyypia, the defender showed that side of his game again, winning 100% of his duels, with all four of them coming in the air.
With the lead at just two goals, Matip was integral in his own defensive third too, making five important clearances to avert any danger away in order to keep a clean sheet.
Klopp praised the Cameroonian 30-year-old prior to the game after he won the Player of the Month award, saying: “I don’t like individual prizes for players too much, but if there was one who should have won it, it makes sense that it was Joel.”
“Who votes for it? Was it his mum? The Premier League? A panel? I think I criticised the Premier League quite frequently, but I have to say now; you have made worse decisions!
“Believe me, if there is one person on this planet who couldn’t care less if we all under-rate him, it’s Joel Matip! Honestly. He doesn’t even realise, probably.
“He’s just happy to be here with these boys. He’s a really smart person, but not in there kind of things. He never thinks, ‘my God, I should have another status’ or whatever. Not at all.”
With Liverpool aiming to keep up the pressure until the end on Manchester City or even leapfrog them sooner, Matip will be integral to Klopp’s plans, and has been one of the standout players this season.