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Burnley vs Liverpool: Joel Matip could be crucial for the Reds

Joel Matip: The underrated presence in Liverpool
Joel Matip: The underrated presence in Liverpool's defence
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Modified 02 Sep 2019, 00:26 IST
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After a comfortable victory over Arsenal last week, Liverpool will be visiting Turf Moor to take on Burnley. Even though the Reds are favourites to win the game, things won't be easy for Jurgen Klopp's men. Burnley are a force to be reckoned with this season and they do have the potential to cause an upset against the Reds.

Burnley will look to use their aerial prowess against Liverpool and deploy their long-ball tactics, which could cause problems for Liverpool's defence.

In the three games that Burnley have played this season, their strikers Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood have been involved in 62 aerial duels, a number that's more than any forward line in the league.

So the Clarets' strategy seems to be clear and hence, Liverpool would have to devise a mechanism to counter the above. Given the evidence this season, it looks as if Klopp might be banking on Joel Matip.

Matip has been competing with Joe Gomez for a starting berth this term. However, after his performance against Arsenal, Klopp is likely to pair the Cameroon international alongside Virgil van Dijk at the heart of the defence against Burnley.

The former was on fire against Arsenal and outplayed his defensive partner. He won seven duels, four aerial duels, four tackles and popped up with the opening goal of the game as well.

Since the start of the season, the Cameroonian has been in fine form. While Van Dijk is the best defender of the lot, Matip has still been piling up great numbers.

He has outperformed the Dutchman in several key areas, namely the number of tackles, clearances, headed clearances and aerial duel success rate. 

Joel Matip
Joel Matip's stats has been outstanding
Joel Matip outperforming Virgil Van Dijk
Joel Matip outperforming Virgil Van Dijk
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Burnley's attack has caused problems for Liverpool's defence in the past and one feels it won't be different this time round. Hence, if Liverpool want to grab all three points, they would need to be defensively alert and ensure that they don't slip up at any point in the game.

With the type of system Burnley favour, Matip could be the man to help the Reds cope with whatever the Clarets have to offer, especially in light of the statistics he has racked up so far.

Moreover, Barnes' threat can never be written off, especially considering the form he has showcased so far in the 2019-20 season. He already has four goals in three appearances and no other Premier League player has had more shots (13) than the Englishman this season.  

Thus, when Liverpool travel to Turf Moor on Saturday, the visitors would be wanting to stop Barnes from creating an impact. And, one reckons that Matip might just be the right man for the job.

Published 31 Aug 2019, 15:08 IST
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