Liverpool defender Joel Matip “overshadowed” teammate Virgil van Dijk in the club’s 2-0 victory away to Cardiff City on Sunday, according to Garth Crooks.
The Reds took another important step in this season’s Premier League title race by claiming all three points against the relegation strugglers.
Matip steps up: Five things you need to know…
- Matip joined Liverpool from Schalke in 2016 on a free transfer following the expiry of his contract with the German outfit.
- The defender has made 93 appearances for the Reds in all competitions since, scoring three goals.
- The 27-year-old has played every Premier League minute in Liverpool’s previous 13 fixtures.
- They have only conceded 10 goals in that time, with Liverpool only conceding 11 Premier League goals in games Matip has completed 90 minutes in.
- The Merseysiders are currently top of the Premier League – two points clear of Manchester City – who have a game in hand on them.
Liverpool produced a solid performance away to a battling Cardiff City side who were looking for all three points themselves in an effort to escape the relegation zone.
Second half goals from Georginio Wijnaldum and James Milner secured the three points for Jurgen Klopp’s men but once again their victory was built upon an impressive defensive foundation.
Often the star man at the back for the Reds, Van Dijk’s excellent performance was “overshadowed” by Matip, with BBC Sport columnist Crooks praising the latter’s distribution.
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Crooks said: “I don’t normally look beyond Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s back four when clean sheets have been maintained and matches won, but on this occasion I think I have to.
“Joel Matip was superb against Cardiff and overshadowed even the brilliant Van Dijk.
“Matip’s defending has been much more considered since the arrival of the Dutchman – but it’s the quality of his distribution that has left me speechless.”
Liverpool’s impressive defensive record
Across the past few years, Liverpool have boasted an impressive attacking line-up that has regularly frightened defences with its speed, power and ability to find the back of the net.
However, the club’s weakness has often been an inability to keep the ball out of their own net. That has changed this season.
Liverpool have conceded just 20 Premier League goals in 34 outings, with the likes of Van Dijk, Matip, Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold providing a solid foundation for the club to produce results.
They won’t be able to beat Chelsea’s almighty record of conceding just 15 Premier League goals en-route to the 2004/05 title, but they have been just one or two results off matching that stat.