Football

Matip could be heading to Anfield this summer.

Eight things Liverpool fans should know about summer target Joel Matip

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Liverpool’s search for defensive reinforcements looks set to continue, with the recruitment of Steven Caulker on loan until the end of the season quickly followed up by reports the Reds are close to signing Schalke's Joel Matip.

A full international at just 24-years-old, the Mirror reports that Matip will complete a free transfer to Anfield this summer upon the expiration of his contract at the Veltins-Arena.

Having played 177 Bundesliga games to date, the Cameroonian brings plenty in the way of experience to his new Premier League employers.

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Matip will arrive as something of an unknown quantity to Liverpool fans - but here's what they ought to know.

CHANGING ROLES

On the books at Schalke since 2000, the German-born defender actually started life as a midfielder, but now plies his trade in a defensive role or at centre-back.

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CHOOSING SIDES

Born in Bochum to a Cameroonian father and German mother, Matip opted to play for the African side at the age of 18 after meeting with then manager Paul Le Guen and several representatives from the national team setup.

IGNORING ADVICE

Oddly enough, that decision went against the recommendation of his club manager at the time, Felix Magath, who urged his Schalke starlet to pursue a career with the Germany national side.

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BRAZILIAN MAGIC

Matip has amassed 27 caps for the Indomitable Lions to date, with his only goal for the African nation coming on the biggest stage of all - against Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.

BROTHERS REUNITED

Schalke’s 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt in late-October proved significant for one very special reason - it saw Matip and brother Marvin go head-to-head in a meeting reminiscent of encounters between Boateng brothers Kevin-Prince and Jerome.

Also a centre-back by trade and with one Cameroon cap to his name, Marvin is six years older than Joel.

LIVING LEGENDS

Marvin isn’t the only professional football relative Joel has either. The 24-year-old's uncle happens to be none other than former Middlesbrough striker and Premier League cult hero Joseph-Desire Job, who won the 2004 League Cup with the Teesiders.

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DARK DAYS

Matip has had his fair share of dark days at Schalke too, having played during the club's 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Real Madrid in the Champions League.

He also featured for the Royal Blues in their shock 2-1 defeat to Dynamo Dresden in the DFB Pokal last term, though he did get Schalke’s goal that day.

ACHILLES HEAL

The Cameroon star doesn't have an Achilles heel as such. Having struggled with a bruised foot last season, Matip was eventually sidelined with a hairline fracture and missed some crucial winter fixtures. Another injury-prone star on his way to Merseyside? Watch out, Liverpool.

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Topics:
Liverpool
Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Football

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