Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that Joel Matip has made an amazing improvement since Virgil van Dijk arrived at Liverpool, while he also had a warning for Joe Gomez.
Matip has made an excellent start to this campaign. Jurgen Klopp’s men top the Premier League by five points having won their first seven games.
In that time, they have conceded just five goals. Van Dijk’s performances will have been a surprise to no one, but Matip has continued to be a revelation alongside him.
And after his outstanding performance in the 1-0 win at Sheffield United on Saturday, Crooks suggested that Matip looks to be a completely different player alongside the Dutchman.
“The improvement in Matip’s performances since the arrival of Van Dijk at Liverpool has been amazing. I have said before that Matip has been prepared to do a lot of the heavy lifting in Liverpool’s defence – a role that can be physically demanding at times but one that is immensely rewarding too,” he told BBC Sport.
“Against Sheffield United, it was his ball distribution that impressed me. Making passes into strikers from deep positions can be a risky affair and takes courage. Matip seems to be fearless at the moment. Bad news for Joe Gomez.”
Liverpool’s front three takes a lot of plaudits for the way that they all bring something different to the table. But it is surely a similar story at the other end of the pitch.
The Reds’ defence all perform their roles superbly. And it is difficult to suggest when Gomez gets back into the team as things stand.
With Liverpool still battling in three competitions at this stage of the season, there will certainly be opportunities for the England international to prove a point.
But he is certainly going to need to produce some excellent form if he hopes to convince Klopp to split up Matip and van Dijk.