Klopp hails Matip's underrated influence at Liverpool

In the final third of last season there were few defenders in the world better than Joel Matip, according to Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip   -  Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp believes Joel Matip's influence on his Champions League-winning Liverpool side is underrated.

The defender played a key role at the back for Liverpool alongside Virgil van Dijk in the second half of last season, helping the Reds reign in Europe after finishing second to Manchester City in an incredible Premier League title race.

Van Dijk's performances in Liverpool's stellar campaign have seen him come to be regarded as the finest defender in world football.

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However, asked about Van Dijk at a media conference ahead of their friendly meeting with Borussia Dortmund, Klopp said: "I think everything about him has been said, what a guy he is, what a player he is, but not a lot of people spoke about the impact Joel Matip had in the last third of the season.

"I don't see a lot of centre-backs in the world who are better in that period, 100 per cent, pretty much without any mistakes.

"Virgil was the constant in that last line [of defence] and it felt always good when you saw him there. He organises a lot of things on the pitch. He's a fantastic player and was a pretty good signing."

The impact of James Milner in the Liverpool dressing room has also become clear and while Klopp feels the 33-year-old still has plenty to offer as a player, he would be willing to offer the former England international an opportunity to cut his teeth as a coach at Anfield.

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"There are still a few good years to come [from Milner] and I’m not sure if we already have to think about what he can do after his career," Klopp added.

"But I'm pretty sure for a guy like him there's always a door open at our club, 100 per cent.

"You could see in different moments last season how much it meant to him, four years back [when Milner joined on a free transfer] I don't know what people in Liverpool thought about him, but it was a brilliant idea in that moment because without players like Milly success in football is impossible."