Joel Matip to depart Liverpool FC at end of season!

Joel Matip will bid farewell to Liverpool FC this summer after an eight-season spell during which he helped the club to some of its most memorable modern moments.

The 32-year-old is set to embark on a new chapter in his career upon the expiry of his contract with the Reds at the end of the campaign, departing Anfield having lifted many of the game’s greatest honours.

The calm and composed centre-back was among the first signings made by Jürgen Klopp, the then-new manager quickly leaning on his knowledge of the Bundesliga to snap him up on a free transfer from Schalke 04.

A deal was agreed and announced before the end of the 2015-16 season and Matip arrived on Merseyside to begin a new chapter that summer.

It would prove to be one of the best bargains in Reds history.

There were 201 appearances, 11 goals, seven winner’s medals – including UEFA Champions League and Premier League success – and countless mazy dribbles out from defence.

“In all the years that I have been involved in football, I am not sure I have come across too many players who are more loved than Joel Matip. I’m not even sure it would be possible to say anything bad about him,” said Klopp.

“A wonderful professional, a wonderful footballer and a wonderful human being – we have been blessed to have him with us for as long as we have and now all we can do is wish him well as he heads off in a new direction.”

“Joel’s qualities as a player are there for all to see and as a club we have benefited from them since the first moment that he joined. I don’t think he has had too many headlines over the years but he has only ever been a very famous figure within our group.”

“I have said before that if there was one person who wouldn’t care if he was underrated it would be Joel, but the truth is we could not have rated him more highly. Not only has he set the standards for himself, he has set them for others and this is one of the main reasons why his time here has been so successful.”

Matip featured 32 times in his maiden season at Liverpool, exhibiting his trademark blend of strength, aerial ability and technique on the ball as Klopp’s side secured a return to Champions League football.

He remained a mainstay of the team in 2017-18, too, though an untimely injury late in the campaign prevented the No.32 from contributing to the Reds’ run to the European Cup final in Kyiv.

Matip was in and out of the XI during the first half of 2018-19 but, having returned to fitness at the turn of the year, he thrived in a central defensive partnership with Virgil van Dijk.

Largely ever-present for the remainder of the season, Matip played his part in Liverpool racking up 97 points in the Premier League, though they still agonisingly missed out on the title to Manchester City.

He started five out of six Champions League knockout matches – including the unforgettable 4-0 semifinal comeback against FC Barcelona at Anfield – as Klopp guided the team to a second successive final.

And there, in Madrid, Matip shone to help keep Tottenham Hotspur at bay at one end, and tee up Divock Origi to score at the other, in a 2-0 win that made him and his teammates the kings of Europe.

Elegant and dominant at his peak level, Matip’s playing style was offset by his personality away from the pitch, which made him a key character in the dressing room and a cult hero among supporters.

It even earned him his very own ‘No Context’ Twitter account.

The reasons to smile continued into the early phases of 2019-20, with Matip maintaining his regular spot in the line-up and the UEFA Super Cup added to the trophy collection.

However, injury setbacks – a recurrent misfortune that denied him many more games for the Reds – limited him to 13 outings, a frustration at least comforted by the winning of the Premier League.

Similarly, the centre-back was restricted to a dozen matches in 2020-21, but good things are supposed to come to those who wait – and the fit-again Matip was outstanding in the subsequent season.

He played 43 times in a marathon campaign that saw Klopp’s charges contest the maximum number of fixtures available to them across four competitions.

They triumphed in two – with Matip involved in the Carabao Cup and Emirates FA Cup final victories – and finished narrow runners-up in both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.

Matip featured less frequently last term, though he was again enjoying a run in the side this season before suffering a cruel anterior cruciate ligament injury against Fulham in December.

That issue prevented the former Cameroon international from taking to the pitch again in 2023-24, though he had shortly before reached the distinction of 200 games for Liverpool.

Like the boss, he moves on this summer, and does so having been an integral figure across the majority of Klopp’s tenure at Anfield.

“If I had to choose one moment from his time here it would definitely be his assist for Divock Origi at the Champions League final in Madrid,” added Klopp. “This was the touch that detonated an explosion in the LFC family. What a moment. What a player.

“We wish Joel and his family the very best for the future.”

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