Joel Matip Replacement: Liverpool transfer news from Newsnow Liverpool as the Reds are said to be exploring the possibility of acquiring a Bundesliga defender.
Their ascent to the summit of the Premier League table transpired after a thrilling 2-1 triumph over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s squad did not display their optimum performance throughout the London encounter, they managed to secure a valuable victory courtesy of Harvey Elliott’s stoppage-time goal.
They were fortunate in the opening half when VAR had to step in to overturn a penalty initially given to the hosts. This decision came after Virgil van Dijk brought down Odsonne Edouard, with Will Hughes committing a foul in the build-up.
However, luck didn’t favour them in the second half when Jarell Quansah’s challenge on Jean-Philippe Mateta led VAR to prompt the referee to review the incident. Consequently, a penalty was awarded, duly converted by the French forward.
The comeback was sealed with goals from Mo Salah and Elliott, but Klopp is likely vexed by defensive lapses, especially given Joel Matip’s recent long-term injury setback.
With the central defender facing an extended absence, there’s speculation that the German head coach might explore the transfer market in January to secure a replacement.
Matip experienced a substitution with 20 minutes remaining in Liverpool’s recent 4-3 victory over Fulham. Subsequent confirmation revealed that the centre-back suffered an ACL rupture, rendering him sidelined for the remainder of the season. This circumstance implies that, unless the club opts for a contract extension, Matip has concluded his playing tenure with Liverpool.
Who are Liverpool Targeting as Joel Matip Replacement?
Klopp has suggested that Liverpool consider extending a new deal to Matip, aiming to support his recovery and prevent the defender from facing uncertainties in his future.
Meanwhile, The Mirror has indicated that Liverpool are monitoring Wolfsburg’s central defender, Maxence Lacroix, ahead of the January transfer window.
The Reds are specifically keeping an eye on the French defender, as they have been exploring long-term options for the central defensive position, especially in light of Matip’s injury.
According to the report, securing the 23-year-old talent’s signature for Liverpool would require a substantial fee, with a minimum valuation of £25 million being mentioned by the outlet.
In addition to Lacroix, Liverpool have reportedly shown interest in Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi. However, stiff competition from Arsenal is noted, and Crystal Palace is said to be ready to demand a ‘huge fee’ for Guehi’s services.
The Mirror reported that Lacroix emerges as a probable immediate solution for Liverpool in their search for a replacement following Matip’s season-ending injury. The versatile Wolfsburg defender is seen as a potential dream substitute for the dependable former Schalke player, who has consistently performed well in the defensive line throughout this season.
Matip’s Season: A Statistical Overview
The 32-year-old stalwart has proven to be a crucial asset for Klopp in the current season, having commenced action in nine Premier League fixtures and made appearances in ten.
Matip has demonstrated his excellence both defensively and in possession, showcasing dominance in defensive maneuvers and exhibiting the skill to advance the ball, thereby contributing significantly to his team’s offensive efforts.
The seasoned warrior boasts 2.1 tackles and interceptions, coupled with 5.8 ball recoveries per match in the top-flight – exceeding van Dijk by 1.1 – while maintaining a duel success rate of 61%. This underscores the prowess of the Reds star, who, without a single error leading to a goal or opponent shot, consistently outmaneuvers rival forwards through impeccable positioning and strength.
Matip has also recorded 3.92 progressive passes and 0.92 progressive carries per 90 in the current Premier League season. These figures position him among the top 48% of players in his role.
The commanding center-back, boasting an impressive 88% completion rate on his top-flight pass attempts, possesses the skill and eagerness to advance the ball through both precise passes and adept dribbling, effectively propelling his team forward on the pitch.
This reduces the reliance on midfielders to retreat and retrieve the ball from the center-backs, affording them the opportunity to showcase their prowess in more threatening zones of the field.
Should Liverpool secure his services for £25 million at the onset of the upcoming year, Lacroix could seamlessly introduce comparable qualities to fortify the defensive ranks.
Analysing Statistics Indicating Lacroix as a Potential Replacement for Matip
The formidable presence from Wolfsburg has displayed remarkable prowess for the German team, presenting Klopp with another center-back capable of influencing both defensive and offensive aspects of the game.
Consistently delivering robust defensive performances during the 2022/23 season, he has seamlessly carried that momentum into the current term with outstanding displays.
|Lacroix (via Sofascore)
|Ground duel success rate
|Aerial duel success rate
Lacroix’s performance in the 2023/24 Bundesliga season has been notable, showcasing three tackles and interceptions combined, along with an impressive 5.2 ball recoveries per match in his 13 appearances.
The 23-year-old standout has demonstrated his prowess by winning 61% of ground duels, making it challenging for opponents to outmaneuver him on the field.
Described by Transfermarkt’s Tobias Kröger as an “elite” defensive talent, Lacroix not only excels in defense but also possesses quality in ball possession, adding a versatile dimension to his skill skill set.
Lacroix stands among the upper echelon, ranking within the top 15% of his positional peers across the Men’s Big Five Leagues and European competitions for progressive passes (4.39) per 90 in the past year. Additionally, he boasts a position in the top 20% for successful take-ons (0.41) per 90.
These metrics highlight the prowess of the 6-foot-3 talent, who has impressively completed 87% of his attempted passes in the Bundesliga this season. This proficiency underscores his capability to advance his team through the thirds with his adept passing.
Consequently, Lacroix, a player nine years junior to the injured Liverpool star, emerges as a compelling option to fill the void left by Matip. His defensive acumen and in-possession qualities position him as a potential dream replacement, seamlessly fitting into the squad.