Joel Matip shared a fitness update this week with a return to Liverpool’s starting XI imminent. The Reds desperately need him fit.

Liverpool were rocked this week with news that Virgil van Dijk will miss time. He’s got a hamstring problem and will need to see a specialist. There’s no timetable for his return.

That essentially means Liverpool need Joel Matip. He instantly becomes the Reds’ most reliable centre-back and we fully expect him to partner Ibrahima Konaté in the first-choice XI for now.

His role as the experienced, proven options alongside Konaté will be vital – so what’s his condition? Matip hasn’t always been fit this season, after all.

“For me, it was happy timing that the World Cup came when it did,” he told the Liverpool Matchday Programme, per the Echo.

“And so I had that time to get in the best shape I could and clear my head to get fresh again and come into this next part of the season with a fresh head and fresh legs.”

Joel Matip gives fitness update

A fit and firing Matip couldn’t be more important right now. If he’s truly in his ‘best shape’ then the timing is wonderful. Especially as there’s no guarantee that Van Dijk will be back to face Real Madrid next month.

Joe Gomez is there in reserve as well, of course, but he doesn’t have the experience or consistency that Matip offers. In fact, we think the Cameroonian could form a wonderful partnership with Konaté over the next few weeks.

Not that Matip is the only one facing pressure here. We think this is Konaté’s time to shine – the period where he can prove himself as Van Dijk’s successor.

While losing the Dutchman is a blow that hurts, it’s one that does also bring opportunities. Now we just need to hope that players take them.


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