Joel Matip has praised Jordan Henderson for his wonder goal at Chelsea – and confirmed his own intentions regarding the African Cup of Nations.
Matip, who arrived at Anfield on a free transfer from Schalke over the summer, has revealed that he intends to miss the bi-annual tournament with Cameroon in order to focus on the start of his Liverpool career.
Matip has not played for his country in over a year but is available for selection at the competition in Gabon between January 14 and February 5.
Cameroon manager Hugo Broos recently expressed his disappointment after the defender did not accept a call-up. But Matip does not want to interrupt his first season in the Premier League and believes the decision will ensure he is in the best shape possible for his new club.
“I would say at the moment I will be concentrating on Liverpool,” Matip told the Daily Telegraph. “It is a long time until January so you never know, but that is the idea.
“Last year I had injury problems. The extra games and travelling were going to make it harder for me. I had to listen to my body and it told me that the international week was the right time to have a break.
“I spoke with the Cameroon manager and he was not happy, but I have to do what is right to be 100 percent and make sure I am not injured again, especially at an important time in my career starting at Liverpool.”
Matip on Henderson’s wondergoal
Matip played a crucial role in the heart of the defence as Liverpool claimed a well-deserved 2-1 win at Chelsea on Friday. You can read our analysis on the match right here.
Liverpool’s first came from Dejan Lovren, with their second and ultimately decisive goal coming from Henderson.
Speaking about the strike, Matip told the club’s official website: “It’s a long time ago since I have seen a goal like this.
“It was a perfect goal and you can’t do that better.
“To win at Stamford Bridge is always nice, it’s a good feeling.
“We want to play like we played in the first half. We want to keep the ball, we want to play and let them run and it worked very good from the beginning. It was a nice game for us.
“When it went to 2-1 we had to fight for the victory, but we took the fight and we won.
“We have made a good start as a team and everybody helps each other so it’s good to play alongside my team-mates.”