Liverpool’s 1-0 victory over Aston Villa at Anfield was a hard-fought one, and much credit for the match-winning performance on the night deservedly went to their defence.
Rock-solid at the back as ever, the duo of Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk displayed a commanding performance that kept Villa at bay. In particular, the Cameroonian international had a field day as he went about making numerous interceptions and key challenges.
Known not only for his defensive exploits, Matip also had a lot to offer to the team going further up the pitch, as evidenced by a signature effort that came towards the end of the game.
As is often the case, Matip received the ball from Van Dijk before surging up the pitch towards the opponent’s penalty box. With the ball at his feet, the centre-back strode with poise and panache and edged past almost six opponents before putting the ball wide for Henderson just in front of the box.
Although the move bore no eventual result, it drew acclaim and awe from fans and commentators alike, one of the latter prompted to say: “That’s becoming a trademark for Matip.”
Liverpool fans loved what they saw, with some even comparing the Cameroonian’s signature move with those of Messi and Maradona, as the short clip of this exquisite play drew a lot of upvotes on Reddit.
Performances like these add more weight to the claim of Matip being one of the most underrated centre-backs in the Premier League. Surpassing even Van Dijk at times, the 30-year-old has established himself as an absolute fan-favourite at Anfield.