Pundit: This Liverpool player can make all the difference for Jurgen Klopp
John Aldridge highlights the impact that Joel Matip can have on the Liverpool defence
John Aldridge believes defender Joel Matip could prove the difference in the Liverpool side.
The retired Cameroon international was named on the bench for the visit of Swansea City on Saturday afternoon as Jurgen Klopp started with Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan at centre-half.
Liverpool went on to lose 3-2 to Swansea despite the Welsh outfit’s well-documented struggles in the Premier League this season.
Matip hasn’t started in the Liverpool side since a 2-2 draw with West Ham United after an ankle problem kept the centre-half sidelined throughout the festive schedule.
The Cameroonian defender was unavailable following his return from injury due to uncertainty surrounding his eligibility after Matip snubbed a call up to his national team’s Africa Cup of Nations squad.
Liverpool were given clearance to play Matip last week and the centre-half will be available for selection for the visit of Chelsea next Tuesday.
Writing in his Liverpool Echo column, Aldridge highlighted the difference that Matip could make to Klopp’s side.
“We needed his height on crosses and corners against Swansea,” Aldridge wrote.
“For the first, Dejan Lovren gets caught under his man. For the second, it’s a great ball and credit to Fernando Llorente for a good header, but if there’s a bit of Matip’s height in there, maybe he gets it away.
“He’s been a big player for us Matip and in every game we’ve lost this season, he’s been missing from the starting line-up. That’s no coincidence.”