Some eyebrows were raised on Saturday when the team sheets were released, and Joël Matip had retaken his spot beside Virgil van Dijk in Liverpool’s back line. Joe Gomez started on the bench as Arsenal came calling, and Matip, who did an admiral job last season, reminded Liverpool fans why they had grown so fond of him.
Matip scored Liverpool’s first goal on a perfect header from one of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner. He also did an excellent job in defense, allowing Arsenal very few chances.
Jürgen Klopp felt the same way, and after the match, he went out of the way to praise Matip’s performance.
“It was all around a really good performance and Joel, for sure it was his best game of the season,” Klopp said.
“People spoke about our defending. We work on our defending but not in the way people probably expected. It’s not about the last line; it’s a common thing, defending in the Premier League doesn’t work if you talk to [each individual player] and tell him, ‘We have to do this and that differently.’
“We worked really hard now on that, of course, like we always do but this week we had the time to do it. From a defending point of view, it was for sure the best game, against an incredible threat.”
While the Reds have yet to notch a clean sheet in this campaign, they are also the only Premier League team to have won their first three matches and even nabbed their first trophy. All that despite Alisson going out with injury during the first game. The team has a full week to recover from their battle against Arsenal before they take on Burnley in the late game on Saturday, and they’ll be looking to extend their winning streak. Whether Matip keeps his spot or starts on the bench in favor of Gomez remains to be seen, but it’s comforting to know that we can feel confident with whatever player makes the starting XI.