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Liverpool: Jurgen Klopp struck gold on Joel Matip

Arguably Jurgen Klopp’s biggest strength is his diligence in the transfer market, being able to improve his Liverpool squad with shrewd signings.

There have of course been some significant financial outlays for players, spending £75m to sign Virgil van Dijk nearly five years ago before splashing out a record £85m to bring Darwin Nunez to Anfield in the summer just gone.

One of Klopp’s most impressive forays into the market was back in 2016 when he signed an experienced Bundesliga defender on a pre-contract agreement…

Klopp struck gold on Joel Matip

Having made more than 250 appearances for Schalke 04 since his debut in 2009, a move to the Premier League was the next logical step for the Cameroon centre-back.

He duly impressed during his first season at Anfield, receiving a SofaScore rating of 7.11, although Liverpool ended that campaign trophyless.

It wasn’t to be until 2018/19 that Matip lifted his first piece of silverware with the Reds, going on to make eight appearances in the Champions League and starting in the 2-0 final victory over Tottenham Hotspur. His WhoScored average rating for the tournament was 7.12 and was good enough to rank second out of the whole squad, proving his importance to Klopp.

However, injury problems resulted in the player featuring in just 25 matches over the next two seasons as Liverpool claimed their first Premier League title.

The £100k-per-week colossus, who was dubbed “underrated” by former Tottenham player Jermaine Jenas last season, roared back in impressive style in 2021/22, playing in 43 matches in all competitions and even chipping in with three league goals for good measure.

The 31-year-old has been Liverpool’s fifth-best performer in the Champions League this season, averaging a 7.27 rating from SofaScore, and despite having Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez as options to partner Van Dijk, Klopp still values the importance of Matip’s experience.

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With CIES Football Observatory valuing Matip at €20m (£17.3m), Klopp has certainly stuck gold with the player and could make a solid profit if moving him on next summer.

With 18 months left on his current contract, the German will most likely avoid this scenario and utilise the centre-back as much as possible.