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Former Red: Matip’s Season Has Earned Him Champions League Spot

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Mark Lawrenson believes Matip has earned his spot in the Champions League final.

Liverpool v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: Second Leg Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

We’ve got one last game to finish this season off with, and there’s very little we have to fill our time between now and June 1st with except twiddling our thumbs and opining on the squad Jurgen Klopp should take with him to Madrid. Luckily for us, the Pundits Formerly Known As Reds are in very much the same position, so at least we know we’re in company (I really can’t attest to whether it can be called ‘good’).

“It would be tough on Matip [to not start the final],” former Red Mark Lawrenson told the club’s official website. “He has been really, really good – and not just defensively.”

Matip stepped into the role of Virgil van Dijk’s partner after Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren both suffered injuries. Matip has started 19 of the last 22 games for Liverpool and has proven to be a solid choice in defense. And Lawrenson believes that his showing in the second half of the season should guarantee him a starting spot beside van Dijk against Spurs.

“He has been a bonus because he has been coming out with the ball and committing opposition midfield players,” Lawrenson explained. “If you’re a midfield player in that team, you’re looking at that and thinking it’s great because he’s giving you a little bit more room to play.

“I think it’ll be Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk [in the final], I can’t see any other combination.”