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Joël Matip Is Set To Play His First Merseyside Derby

The Liverpool defender has seen what the derby atmosphere is at Goodison. But Anfield will be absolutely electric.

Leicester City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Assuming he gets the nod from Jürgen Klopp, Saturday’s derby against Everton will be a first for Liverpool’s Joël Matip. The German defender missed the previous fixture through injury but barring something catastrophic happening to the player in the next twenty-four hours Matip should be a sure thing to face the Blues at Anfield tomorrow. He’s heard the tales of the Merseyside derby and knows what the game means in the city of Liverpool. There will be atmosphere.

“It’s a special game for all of the supporters and the club,” said Matip. “It will be a tense game and we will fight and give everything to win.

“They are a very strong team, but we also have our qualities. We will not hide. We will do our best.”

Matip will be tasked with all the usual defender responsibilities: positional sense, offside trap, tackles, etc. But this match has a special something that will create some special problems for Liverpool’s back line. And that special something is Romelu Lukaku.

“It’ll be a really hard challenge,” admitted Matip, “but do it as we always do, as a team, defending, attacking. I’m hoping it’ll work.”

“There will be no special talk about Lukaku. We all know his qualities and he is always good for a goal. So, we will try our best not to let this happen.”

Matip knows, along with all the Liverpool players, that a win against Everton, a derby win at Anfield, could be a key moment of propulsion that sees the team into the top four come season’s end.

“(Winning the derby) would give us a push,” said Joël. “We will try to get it to stay in this momentum and to continue.”