The Cameroonian defender has come in for rave reviews since his arrival on a free from Schalke 04 in the summer transfer window, none higher than from club legend, Sami Hyypiä. Speaking to the club website, the former Liverpool captain discussed his long-time admiration for the 6ft 5in powerhouse, who he had come up against on several occasions in his time in the Bundesliga:
“I knew him from Germany, I think I played against him and then managed Leverkusen when he was at Schalke.
“He's a good player. He's a big guy, dominant player, very comfortable on the ball and that's a big piece of how the team plays.”
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp was clearly also a fan, with Matip quickly going on to win over the Anfield faithful with a polished combination of stifling, no-nonsense defending and a cultured, progressive approach with the ball at his feet.
“When you want to play football, you need to have somebody who is comfortable on the ball and on the other hand a strong defender,” Hyypiä added, “His style of play is that he is comfortable on the ball but I think that comes from confidence, he is very confident that he can play football.”
The 25-year old is now one of the first names on the team sheet and Liverpool fans will be glad that he will not be leaving with Sadio Mané for the African Cup of Nations, a loss that, on current evidence, would have put a serious dent on this season’s top four challenge.
Thankfully, this will not be the case, and with the Christmas season approaching in which millions around the world will seek to buy their happiness, Anfield, at the very least, will understand the truth that the best things in life sometimes really are free.