Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has praised centre-back Joel Matip for his performances since returning from his long-term injury.
Matip has proved a regular figure in the Reds’ defence following his move from Schalke in 2016. Despite suffering from a number of injuries, he has enjoyed long spells in the team alongside the likes of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk.
In fact, Matip and Van Dijk have played every minute of the current Premier League campaign together. The pair nursed serious ankle and knee problems, respectively, last season.
Klopp brought in Gomez – who has also had his fair share of injury issues – alongside Matip for Wednesday’s 3-2 Champions League defeat of AC Milan.
Asked about the Cameroonian’s performances since the start of the season, Klopp was full of praise for the 30-year-old.
“Look, I cannot help people who don’t see the quality of Joel Matip,” the manager told reporters at a press conference. “That’s true, he was a bit unlucky in the past with an injury here or there.
“They were maybe not always the most difficult things. But he’s a big boy, a big player, tall. He can look from time to time a bit edgy or whatever, but he’s an incredible player.
“He was always an incredible player, since he joined us at least, so that’s really good.”
Klopp then spoke glowingly of the fact that he has Matip, Van Dijk, Gomez and new signing Ibrahima Konate in his centre-back ranks and battling for game time.
Nathaniel Phillips has also stuck around after signing a new contract, despite uncertainty over his future over the summer.
Klopp welcomes Liverpool centre-backs
“But for him [Matip] that’s the same, we needed the quality. We have now four or five top-class centre-halves and that’s good to have and necessary,” Klopp added.
“But in that position when you only have two then sometimes they play 10, 12, 15 games in a row. They are maybe able to do that, but if we don’t have to why should we?
“That’s why I have the opportunity now to make some changes and from time to time, not always.
“We have to hope they stay fit and we will be fine in that position, for sure.”
Klopp was speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday.