Joel Matip once again showed just why he deserves a new contract at Anfield. The former Schalke defender, who arrived on a free transfer in 2016, has formed a strong partnership with Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s back four. Matip has proven himself to not only be a strong defender but capable of starting attacks and scoring goals from set-pieces.
Matip has found the back of the net twice this season already and returned to Liverpool’s starting XI against Southampton featuring from the start in the last two matches. His return has coincided with Liverpool ditching their high line, although that could be partly down to Adrian playing in goal as it gives him more protection.
According to Transfermarkt, Matip’s Liverpool contract expires in June 2020. He is one of four Liverpool players whose contract will expire next summer. Matip, James Milner, Adam Lallana, and Nathaniel Clyne will all see their contracts end in June 2020.
How good was Joel Matip vs. Arsenal?
Matip completed 31 of 39 total passes, one key pass, won all three aerials attempted, completed three tackles, and three interceptions. The centre-back had 49 touches of the ball, 16 more than Van Dijk.
According to the Manchester Evening News, Matip is one of 102 Premier League players available to be signed by clubs for free in 2020. The increase in transfer fees and salaries has changed the way players move clubs.
I have previously written that Premier League teams will increase the number of free agents they sign in a similar way to the NFL and NBA due to the price it costs in transfer fees and salaries.
Liverpool do have Joe Gomez, Sepp van den Berg, and Ki-Jana Hoever in reserve. Gomez, though talented and an excellent defender, isn’t to Matip’s level currently. The big man has a solid partnership with Van Dijk and has a presence Gomez is yet to create.
Liverpool have big decisions to make over player contracts. Last summer, they showed themselves to be willing to let go long-time players such as Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno. Could Matip be next?
He truly deserves a new contract, but at 28, will Liverpool offer it to him?