Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool: Joel Matip stars on return from injury

Joel Matip

Liverpool closed the gap at the top of the Premier League table to just a point with a 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Sunday evening.

The Reds could have gone top with a win, but despite dominating the early exchanges, were made to settle for a point.

Jurgen Klopp's team selection was incredibly positive with Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino both selected alongside Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.

However, try as they might, they struggled to break down a City side who were resolute and compact.

Salah scored from the penalty spot before Gabriel Jesus span his marker and scored an exquisite equaliser.

If it wasn't for Kevin De Bruyne's missed penalty, Liverpool would have left the Etihad without anything at all.

Klopp's men, therefore, can probably count themselves lucky that they escaped with their share of the spoils in a game that was thoroughly entertaining.

Joel Matip

Without Virgil van Dijk, there would have been some concerns lingering about whether the Reds could cope with the might of Man City, but with Joel Matip back in the squad, they found a spirited replacement.

He was superb throughout the 90 minutes and was recognised by some Liverpool supporters on Twitter as their Man of the Match. 

Here's the best of the reaction from social media. 

Although Liverpool didn't keep a clean sheet, Matip was one of the reasons that the scoreline stayed as it did.

During the match, the Cameroon international made three tackles, three clearances and also one interception. Meanwhile, not a single City player managed to dribble past the tall defender. 

Impressively, he also used his big frame to win three fouls, getting himself in the way to regularly disrupt the flow of the opposition's attack. 

Matip hasn't featured for Liverpool since the beginning of October and has had a habit of picking up injuries during his stay at Anfield. Thus, as well as this performance bodes with Van Dijk missing, Liverpool will have to manage his fitness carefully.

On this evidence, he is a vitally important member of Klopp's team. 

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