Premier League • England

Joel Matip: Liverpool stalwart to sign surprise contract extension but only if major condition is met

Liverpool defenders Andy Robertson, Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk

Joel Matip could remain a Liverpool player going forward but only if he is willing to accept one major condition in signing a fresh contract.

It was revealed over the weekend that the Reds have opened preliminary talks with the 32-year-old agent over extending his contract on Merseyside, in somewhat of a surprising move.

However, discussions are not thought to be at an advanced stage for a player who has been at Anfield since 2016.

Matip‘s current deal runs out in the summer of 2024, meaning that he can open talks with foreign clubs over a free transfer exit from January.

And despite starting the club’s last four Premier League games, Matip is still regarded as the fourth-choice centre-back for Klopp.

The Cameroon international has largely been playing due to injuries and suspensions, featuring alongside the likes of Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and youngster Jarell Quansah in those games.

An injury to Trent Alexander-Arnold has opened the door for Matip to play centrally, with Gomez operating at right-back instead. Van Dijk was also suspended for two games after his red card at Newcastle.

He was, however, selected ahead of Ibrahima Konate for Sunday’s impressive 3-1 win over West Ham at Anfield that has continued Liverpool‘s highly impressive start to the new campaign.

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Matip forced to accept secondary role

But despite starting recently, Football Insider reports that Matip has been told that a new deal will only be on the cards if he is prepared to accept a secondary role at the club.

Klopp is known to be keen to keep a player of Matip’s experience around, especially after the Reds made a number of new signings in the summer.

The fact that Liverpool have completely revamped their midfield this summer means Klopp wants to make sure they have a calming influence behind, something that Matip offers.

But despite being given the nod this season, Matip only played 21 times last term and there were strong rumours that he could be offloaded over the summer.

The centre-back has made 191 appearances during his six-year stay on Merseyside, although judging by his form this term that number could soon be going up.

Meanwhile, Matip is not the only Liverpool defender in line for a new deal, with Trent Alexander-Arnold having reached an agreement in principle over his new deal.

The Reds are back in action on Wednesday evening when they host Leicester City in the Carabao Cup third round.

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