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Joel Matip celebrates scoring against FC Mainz.

Joel Matip can be the answer to Liverpool's defensive problems

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Given Liverpool's ongoing defensive problems over the past few years, it comes as no surprise that Jurgen Klopp has sewn up a deal to sign Joel Matip.

The Reds' back four has been frail, to say the least, for the past two-and-a-half seasons. They conceded 50 goals when they came within a whisker of winning the Premier League title in 2014 only reduced that tally by two during the 2014/15 campaign.

This term, Liverpool's rearguard has once again struggled. Already, they've conceded 36 goals and, if it wasn't for scoring six against Aston Villa on Sunday, they'd still likely have a negative goal difference.

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Set pieces have undoubtedly been the Merseyside outfits achilles heel, with 40% of their goals conceded from dead-ball attacks.

When Klopp took the reins from Brendan Rodgers at Anfield in October, many were excited for the prospect of him raiding his former club Borussia Dortmund. Both Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic have been linked to the Reds but both look unlikely to leave anytime soon.

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Familiar territory

Nonetheless, Klopp has returned to the waters he knows in the Bundesliga to fix Liverpool's defensive problems by persuading Matip to see out his FC Schalke contract and move to Merseyside in the summer on a free transfer.

Although the 48-year-old will have to sit patiently for his latest recruit, Matip looks an ideal candidate to help the Reds stop leaking goals at the back.

Despite being 24-years-old, Matip already has a wealth of experience under his belt.

DFB Pokal - "Schalke o4 v Borussia Monchengladbach"

Having been at Schalke since the age of eight, he's slowly progressed through the ranks of German football to becoming Schalke's top performer this term, according to Squawka.

He's been a regular at the Gelsenkirchen club since the tender age of 18 and played in some vital matches, including against Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final in 2011.

How does he compare?

Klopp currently has four senior centre-backs at Anfield.

Kolo Toure's contract runs out this summer and, approaching his 35th birthday, it looks unlikely the ex-Arsenal man will be given an extension.

The Reds' main three centre-halves this term have been Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren. All have had their injury problems during the course of the season and the trio have also shown their deficiencies at some stage or the other.

Liverpool v West Ham United - Premier League

Since Jamie Carragher retired in 2013, nobody has took charge of the Liverpool rearguard and Klopp will desperately want a leader.

The Reds threw a 2-0 lead away against Sunderland earlier this month with Sakho being turned far too easily for Jermaine Defoe's equaliser and, although Lovren has improved this term, the horrors of his debut campaign at Anfield are still fresh in many supporters' minds.

Although he is still yet to hit his peak, Klopp will be hoping he can nurture Matip into the commander of his defence sooner rather than later.

Skrtel has been Liverpool's most consistent centre-back for the past few years but, at the age of 31, he'll soon be entering the twilight years of his career and Klopp will want a suitable replacement in line.

Strong form

Matip has been in superb form at Schalke this term, who are banging on the door for a top-four finish in the Bundesliga and won four of their past five matches.

The Cameroon international is currently ranked the Bundesliga's fourth best defender by Squawka this term, behind Hummels, David Alaba and Phillip Lahm respectively.

Compare that to Liverpool's three main centre-backs who do not even feature in the Premier League's top ten.

Matip will add a much-needed aerial presence to Liverpool's back line. He stands at 6'4" and averages nine defensive actions per game and has made just one defensive error all season. He's also scored three times this term and which is an added bonus for the Reds in the final third.

Matip also has the ability to create chances. He's registered nine key passes and one assist for Die Konigsblauen this term, more than Skrtel, Sakho and Lovren.

Rebuilding

Klopp will be keen to build a side of his own in preparation for next season. The 48-year-old already seems keen to get the ball rolling in the summer as he too linked a deal with Marko Grujic in January.

FBL-ENG-FACUP-LIVERPOOL-WEST HAM

Klopp has gone back to his roots to bring in Matip. His transfer record is exceptionally good having signed the likes of Marco Reus and Robert Lewandowski at Dortmund and Kopites will be hoping Matip will fall into the same category.

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Topics:
Bundesliga
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Europa League
Liverpool
Fernando Torres
Football
Steven Gerrard

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