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Liverpool’s back four this season has emerged as one of the best in Europe, with Liverpool conceding the least amount of goals in the Premier League so far this season. Virgil van Dijk has deservedly been given massive credit along with Liverpool’s full-backs, but Joël Matip has performed consistently well over the course of this season and is starting to finally show the kind of form expected of him in a Liverpool shirt.

In this tactical analysis, I’ll show you Matip’s main weakness and how he has improved on it and highlight his importance in this Liverpool team.

A ball-playing defender

Much like Van Dijk, Matip is comfortable and can play long passes over the top to Liverpool’s front three when needed, as he demonstrated against Southampton last Friday. Matip’s ability on the ball is what sets him apart from Dejan Lovren.

Being able to play both Van Dijk and Matip against teams with a deep block has meant that both can pick line-breaking passes to help Liverpool advance. We can see below that when teams sit deep and concede space, Matip can combine well with Firmino and allow Liverpool to advance up the pitch.

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