Joel Matip has been one of Liverpool unsung heroes in their challenge for Premier League and Champions League glory.
Matip is one of a number of Liverpool defenders to have had their critics at Anfield, but he has thrived in recent weeks after being given an extended run in the team due to injuries.
We’ve taken a closer look at Matip’s stats from the 2017-18 Premier League campaign in comparison to those of Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren, his competition for a place partnering Virgil van Dijk in central defence.
Matip has now started 16 times in the Premier League this season, with five cameos off the bench as a late substitute.
In those 16 starts, Liverpool have kept eight clean sheets, conceding 11 goals across his other eight appearances.
Gomez, meanwhile, has started 12 times, with two substitute appearances, although three of those starts came as a right-back.
In his nine starts at centre-back, Liverpool kept out the opposition five times, conceding four goals across those four other games.
And Lovren has also started nine times in the league at centre-back, with the Reds keeping five clean sheets in those games. With Lovren starting in defence, Liverpool have conceded five goals.
Joel Matip can have moments when he looks a mistake waiting to happen but he’s hardly put a foot wrong in the last four weeks; very, very good again today 🔴
— Dominic King (@DominicKing_DM) April 21, 2019
Of the nine league matches that Lovren has played in, Liverpool have won seven, drawn one and lost one – their only defeat of the season so far, away to Manchester City in early January. That equates to a win rate of 77.8%.
With Gomez starting at centre-back, Jurgen Klopp’s side have also won seven of their nine matches, drawing twice with creditable results at Chelsea and Arsenal.
And with Matip alongside Van Dijk, Liverpool have won 12 of those 16 games, a win rate of 75%. Like Gomez, he has yet to taste defeat in the Premier League this season, drawing against Leicester City, West Ham, Manchester United and Everton.
Who should start against Barcelona in the semi-final?
Joe Gomez or Joel Matip 🤔 pic.twitter.com/2xu6t3dEUB
— Liverpool Fans (@UKFansLiverpool) April 19, 2019
Taking a closer look at the nitty gritty of the trio’s performance, the tackling statistics reflect well on Matip.
Not only does he complete the most tackles per 90 minutes (2.2), but he also has the best success rate (78.6%).
Gomez is next best, making 1.5 successful tackles per 90 minutes with a slightly lower success rate of 75%, while Lovren averages 1.3 per 90 at 61.9%.
Matip’s stats also suggest he is the superior member of the trio when it comes to reading the game, making 1.8 interceptions per 90 in comparison to Gomez’s 1.2 and Lovren’s 0.8.
Lovren at least fares better when it comes to aerial duels, winning the most per 90 minutes of all three players with 4.5 at a success rate of 66.2%.
Matip is slightly behind on four per 90 minutes, albeit once against with the best success rate at 70.2%.
Gomez is some way behind, although his stats may be affected by appearing on occasion at right-back, averaging 2.1 successful aerial duels per 90 at a success rate of 56.8%.