Having cemented his place in Liverpool’s starting eleven since arriving from Bundesliga side Schalke 04 on a free transfer, Liverpool’s once chaotic defense is looking a bit more organized now that they have Joel Matip in the heart of the defense. Maybe they’ve conceded the same amount of goals — 14 — as last season after the same amount of matches, but sitting only a single point off the summit of the Premier League with Sunderland set to visit Anfield at the weekend, there’s little doubt that something has changed in the Reds back-line.
“I am a calm person,” the Bochum-born defender told the Liverpool ECHO. “I am not someone who is always shouting on the field. I try to keep my composure. I can’t do it always. Sometimes I can get a bit angry, especially if a decision I want doesn’t go my way!,” he added with a wry smile. “But I do try to stay calm on the field. It helps you to make the right decisions.”
That composure is something we’ve seen on more than one occasion from Matip — whether it’s keeping his cool against an aggressive character like Chelsea forward Diego Costa, corralling the likes of Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic or popping up with a towering header against Crystal Palace, the 25-year old always seems to be in perfect sync with the flow of the match. With that being said, any suggestions that he’s found life straight forward since arriving in the Premier League over the summer will fall on deaf ears.
“No, no, no, it’s not easy,” explained Matip. “I’m grateful that I’ve always had the help of my team-mates,” continued the Cameroonian, quick to point to the support of his teammates for making his transition to English football so much easier. “I always have Dejan and Clyney (Nathaniel Clyne) either side of me,” added the former Schalke man. “They give me confidence. I can step out knowing they are behind me.”