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2018/19 Season Report Card - Joel Matip

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Before writing this I had a look at Matip’s report card from this time last year. He was a 6 out of 10 and I ended the review with this:

 

"The main thing for him is to stop getting injured so we can see what he’s made of. We know his partnership with Lovren isn’t bad but we’ve not seen much of him with Big Virg. Lovren's game went up another level with the Dutchman alongside him, so perhaps Matip's can too?

 

At the moment Lovren is in possession of the shirt but there’ll be more than enough games to keep them all involved next year. I feel as though next year is make or break for Matip. He's got the ability but he needs to show he has the durability and the consistency."

 

I’d say he did it, wouldn't you? Are there any Matip doubters still out there after the last six months?

 

He only played half a season, but he was pretty much flawless when he did play. This wasn’t as surprising a success story as Divock Origi, but back in the opening months of the season no-one could have predicted the vital role Matip would play in a team that picked up 97 points and also became European Champions.

 

matip3_600.jpg

 

It was hardly his fault he only played half a season, so I couldn’t really factor that into his rating. He had to be judged on the games he did play, not the ones he didn’t. And based on the games he played, he was actually one of our most impressive players. He's much more low profile than virtually everybody else in the squad, so he's never going to get much in the way of hype, but in the closing weeks of the season he was arguably as good as anyone.

 

He started the season injured and number four in the pecking order but he ended it as the number two behind Van Dijk. He got in the side through injuries to Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren, but he stayed in there because of his own performances.

 

 

This is just a teaser, click to view the full article

 

Please note, 'Season Report Cards' are only be available to TLW subscribers. Subscriptions are just £2 per month and can be purchased here.

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31 minutes ago, tlw content said:

He’s become something of a cult figure too due to his ambling runs forward when opponents are sitting deep and trying to deny space for our frontmen. 

 

It’s a great attribute he needs to improve. I love it when a center half uses the space that opens up when a team defends deep. He needs to release the ball quicker though, as more often than not he gets himself stuck in traffic.

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I actually thought he was our best player in the final along with possibly Alisson.

 

He was outstanding defensively and the touch to Origi for the goal was much more difficult than he's given credit for. There was also the cross field ball into Robbo which led to his shot in the first half that was equally excellent.

 

Because Virgil is so brilliant he's usually the person that gets the most focus for any good defensive display but he had a couple of rush of bloods to the head early on against Spurs. Big Joel was unflappable and I was amazed to see he didn't make a lot of man of the match polls.

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4 minutes ago, deiseach said:

I'm afraid to ask what you thought people might think 'Big Bird' to be...

 

Youngsters mightn't know, do I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

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33 minutes ago, dave u said:

 

Youngsters mightn't know, do I figured it was better to be safe than sorry.

Are these the same youngsters who didn't 'have' Istanbul?

 

 

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Thinking back to January - LFC have just gone out of the FA Cup to Wolves. Lovren has just got injured; Gomez is long term injured; Matip's recovering from the Napoli injury - so it didn't look good for the defence.

Matip, even when fit & playing, just seemed to be Mr Injury Prone.

So, Matip comes in, stays fit, and hardly puts a foot wrong as LFC go unbeaten from there on in (ignoring the anomaly in Barcelona) and in some games he's the pick of the defence.  So good that when Lovren & Gomez get fit, he keeps the shirt - definitely a 9 out of 10!!

 

PS Big Bird was also the nickname of another Joel - the West Indian fast bowler from the 1980s, Joel Garner, all 6'8" of him!!

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Possibly the biggest change of mind I've had on a player. I thought he was physically weak and error prone.  Turns out he's neither. 

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