Abundance of Context Joel Matip Bids Farewell To Liverpool

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Joel Matip: Beloved Defender Bids Farewell to Liverpool

Joel Matip’s departure from Liverpool marks the end of an era for a player whose contributions have left an indelible mark on the club. Matip’s season was cut short in December after a seemingly harmless clash with Fulham’s Willian. Since then, fans have missed his presence on the pitch, but his influence endures, particularly through the fan-run social media account, No Context Joel Matip, which celebrates his unique personality and moments at Liverpool.

The Iconic No Context Joel Matip

Despite Matip’s absence, the No Context Joel Matip account has kept his spirit alive, sharing humorous and memorable snippets of the defender. From his bewildered reactions to refereeing decisions to joyous celebrations and trophy-lifting moments, the account has played a significant role in solidifying his status as a cult hero at Liverpool. Launched in 2019, it has continued to capture Matip’s character, even with limited new content this year.

Recent posts include a photo of Matip with the Carabao Cup alongside Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk, an image of him watching from behind the bench during Liverpool’s 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur, and a clip of him jogging as part of his rehabilitation. These glimpses have kept fans connected to Matip, who has become a beloved figure at the club.

Final Farewell at Wolverhampton

Liverpool’s upcoming match against Wolverhampton Wanderers will be Matip’s final game for the club. Initially, there was hope that manager Jurgen Klopp might extend Matip’s contract, especially following his anterior cruciate ligament injury. However, Matip will leave as he arrived: on a free transfer. His contributions, though, have been invaluable and have earned him the adoration of fans and teammates alike.

Klopp himself once questioned, “Have you ever seen a better free transfer than Joel Matip?” His only real competition under Klopp are experienced goalkeepers Alex Manninger, Adrian, and Andy Lonergan, two of whom never played a first-team game. James Milner, signed under Brendan Rodgers, also presents a strong case.

Photo by IMAGO

Loved by Fans and Teammates

Matip is cherished by everyone at Liverpool. His teammate Ibrahima Konate described him as the “funniest man at the club,” a sentiment widely shared. Beyond his humour lies an intelligent, dominant, ball-playing defender who has been crucial to Liverpool’s successes. His presence in the dressing room, setting standards and flying under the radar, will be deeply missed.

Matip’s Liverpool journey began on February 15, 2016, when it was announced that he would join from Schalke at the end of the season. He became Klopp’s second permanent signing and has since made 201 appearances over eight seasons. This figure, however, belies the unfortunate story of his time at Anfield, which has been plagued by injuries.

Injury-Plagued Journey

Matip’s first three seasons saw him make over 30 appearances in all competitions each year. Unfortunately, he only exceeded that number once more, in the 2021-22 season, playing 43 times. In his final five seasons, he managed to play three or more consecutive games in all competitions on just 13 occasions and in the Premier League, only seven times. Most of these came during the 2021-22 season when his injury risk was managed more effectively.

Matip’s frequent injuries are a regrettable aspect of his career. Counting tomorrow’s game, he will have been part of 268 matchday squads out of a possible 436, playing in 46% of matches. Despite these setbacks, Matip leaves a lasting legacy at Liverpool.

Photo by IMAGO

Legacy of Quiet Excellence

Matip’s defending came naturally, and his unassuming nature was epitomised by his deft assist to Divock Origi in the 2019 Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur, leading to Liverpool’s second goal. Klopp once remarked, “Not a lot of people spoke about the impact Joel Matip had in the last third of the season.” Matip’s performances were instrumental, especially leading up to the Champions League final, where he started 19 of the last 22 matches.

Matip’s partnership with Van Dijk saw him frequently targeted by opponents, yet he consistently rose to the challenge. Internally, his value was never underestimated. His relationship with Van Dijk highlighted his humble nature, with Van Dijk often praising him. “There’s only one Joel Matip,” Van Dijk said. “He makes me happy, that’s the funny thing.”

Matip’s calm demeanour was a constant, only shifting in response to refereeing decisions. His signature slaloming runs from centre-back became a trademark, showcasing a unique blend of control and unpredictability. One of his most celebrated moments was his goal against Leeds United in a 6-0 victory in 2022, a testament to his skill and presence on the field.

Photo: IMAGO

The Unassuming Hero

During the 2022-23 campaign, Matip’s quality was less evident, but he silenced critics with his performances at the start of the current season. Regardless of his position in the pecking order, he always fought his way back into the starting lineup when fit. His absence due to injury allowed young talent Jarell Quansah to step up, providing a silver lining.

Matip’s farewell statement was characteristically modest, reflecting his nature: a “wonderful” eight years filled with “special memories.” His departure, coinciding with Klopp’s exit, metaphorically represents the understated player who never sought the spotlight but earned a significant place in the hearts of Liverpool supporters.

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