15 Jul 2016

Top Transfer? 'Excellent' £50k-a-week powerhouse reveals big 'decision' to 'join Liverpool' was 'easy'. Insists he's 'good enough'

In May, Reds legend John Barnes hailed the signing of 'excellent' Cameroon international Joel Matip, and with new injuries to Joe Gomez and Mamadou Sakho, it looks like the Cameroon international will immediately be thrust into action when the Premier League kicks off in August. With the league set to be more competitive than ever next season, Matip needs to make a quick impact for Liverpool, and he appears to have the confidence to achieve that.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo this week, Matip outlined his reasons for signing for LFC:

"It was an easy decision to join Liverpool. I want to play against the best to become better. There’s pressure but I want that – it’s the reason I came here. I think I'm good enough and I’ll show this.".

This sounds encouraging, but Matip also made at least one mildly concerning statement:

“Leadership is something I will have to grow into but I am also sure I have the ability for that position and from the way I approach the game".

The lack of leadership in defence has been a massive issue for Liverpool over the last few years, and it's something that needs to be rectified. The Reds arguably need a confident, central defensive 'alpha' (a Carragher/Terry type personality) who relishes the opportunity to take charge, organise, and control things on the field.

Alas, Matip doesn't appear to be that type of player. If he has to 'grow into' a leadership role, it suggest to me that he'll defer to other senior players on leadership issues (like Lovren, for example, who, incidentally, buckled under the pressure in his first season at the club).

Whatever happens, it's vital that Matip hits the ground running this season, and that means no costly goal-creating mistakes in his first few games. Unfortunately, if that happens, Matip will immediately be written off as another error-prone defender (just ask Lovren!), and it's hard to shake off that label (just ask Moreno!)

On a related note: The African Cup of Nations takes place in January/February 2017, which means Liverpool will lose Matip and Sadio Mane for a whole month at an absolutely crucial stage of the season. If those two turn out ot be the best buys of the summer, this could (potentially) derail Liverpool's season. Maybe it's just me, but it seems like bad transfer planning.

^ Reportedly on £50k-a-week at Liverpool


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