Jamie Carragher: Why Joel Matip had his best Liverpool game at Bournemouth

The Liverpool legend explains just how important Joel Matip is to Jurgen Klopp's side

Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool’s 4-3 loss to Bournemouth in the absence of Joel Matip highlighted how the Cameroon defender has helped to transform Jurgen Klopp’s defence.

Liverpool managed to keep two consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time as Matip and Dejan Lovren impressed against Southampton and Sunderland last month ahead of their clash against Eddie Howe’s side.

However, Matip missed Liverpool’s trip to the south coast through injury last weekend and Brazil midfielder Lucas Leiva partnered Lovren at centre-half at the Vitality Stadium.

The duo struggling in the second half alongside Liverpool shot stopper Loris Karius as Bournemouth scored three times in the final 16 minutes to overturn a 3-1 deficit and secure three points.

Liverpool signed Matip on a free transfer from Schalke 04 in the summer transfer window after the Cameroon international agreed to move to the Merseyside outfit at the end of his contract with the Bundesliga club in February.

Writing in his Daily Mail column ahead of Liverpool’s home clash against West Ham United on Sunday afternoon, Carragher highlighted Matip’s influence on the 18-time English champions.

“It is one of the most famous sayings in football — you have your best games when you don’t play — and it certainly applied to Joel Matip last week,” Carragher said.

“The manner in which Liverpool collapsed against Bournemouth, conceding three times in the last 15 minutes, left supporters lamenting the fact the Cameroon central defender was not around to provide a calming influence.

“Matip has been excellent since arriving at Anfield on a free transfer in the summer and he has certainly helped improve a team that has had defensive issue for the past two or three seasons.

“The statistics with and without him in Liverpool’s team certainly show his impact. Matip did not play in the first two games at Arsenal and Burnley, as well as on the South Coast. In those three matches, Liverpool conceded nine times.

“In the 13 games he did play, though, Liverpool conceded only nine goals.”

Carragher added: “He should return in tomorrow’s game with West Ham and it is to be hoped we will see a partnership resume. Matip, who will not go to next month’s Africa Cup of Nations, might be understated and not a player who commands headlines but he knows how to defend. Liverpool need him.”

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4018724/Leicester-City-ticking-box-drop-right-t-end-remarkable-story.html#ixzz4SPpYwg00
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