The Anfield side aren’t in a crisis, yet, but if Jurgen Klopp doesn’t inject some life into his team ahead of a crunch tie against Ajax on Tuesday, then it might be a tough ask to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League.
Several first-team stars disappointed against the Serie A side, with James Milner, Fabinho, and Mohamed Salah failing to contribute in a positive way. It was centre-back Joe Gomez who was the real chink in Klopp’s armour, however, and the German should seriously consider starting Joel Matip tomorrow night.
The 24-year-old received a score of just 6.1 against Napoli and was substituted at halftime for Matip. Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold were both targeted down the right-hand side and Gomez’s lack of confidence meant Liverpool were particularly frail at the back.
Matip steadied the ship slightly, even though the team lost 4-1, the defence only conceded once in the second half and the Cameroon international won 100% of his duels and made 92% of his attempted passes, showing how composed he was on the ball.
With Ajax thrashing Rangers 4-0 in their first match of the campaign, they will pose a similar – if not more effective – attacking threat than the Italian side and Klopp should bring Matip in from the start if he hopes to get a positive result against the Dutch side.
Matip has only played 50 minutes of Premier League football this season due to injury, but with journalist Josh Holland stating that Matip is “key to this team, he is the glue at the back” following his second-half performance last week, he could well find himself with more game time than expected so soon from his recovery.
The £100k-p/w star might be one of the less glamourous players on this Liverpool team, but he proved he is one of the most vital after the Napoli debacle.