New center-back Joël Matip, on the cusp of making his Anfield debut, says he feels comfortable within Jürgen Klopp’s squad thanks to a common language. Both Matip, who plays international football with Cameroon but lived his whole life in Germany before transferring to Liverpool, and fellow center-back Dejan Lovren can speak English and German, which Matip hopes will help the two create a solid partnership in Liverpool’s back line.
About their communication, Matip explained, “Sometimes German, sometimes English. It’s a mix but we understand each other. Dejan speaks perfect German. At the beginning, we played a lot of games together. Also when Ragnar [Klavan] came back, I have a good feeling with him. Dejan gives me cover all the time and I know I can trust him. It also needs some time so I know the way he will make and he knows the way I will make. It needs some time but it will get better.”
Since it appears that the Matip/Lovren partnership is Klopp’s preference for this season, Matip’s words are encouraging.
In addition to Klopp and Lovren, Matip also has teammate Emre Can to thank for helping him become familiar with his new surroundings.
“If I have got some questions, I always know there’s one person who can speak the same language and can help,” he explained. “The other players speak English or French, no problem. They made a very warm welcome to me and help me where they can. It’s very nice to be in this team.”
Tonight, Matip will get to experience the most important rite of passage for any Liverpool player: his first game at Anfield. It will be the team’s first home game of the season, and the first official unveiling of the new, redeveloped Main Stand, which will accommodate an extra 8,500 fans into the stadium.
Predictably, Matip is excited but not overwhelmed, saying, “In my hometown there were always 60,000. So I know these games. Every game was sold out at home so I know a little bit about these atmospheres. It will be special because it’s a new stadium and the opponents are last year’s champions. Everybody will be extremely motivated and everybody wants to get three points.”
Kick-off for the game is 5:30PM BST/12:30PM EST as Liverpool welcome Leicester City to Anfield.