Bidding a fond farewell to Joël Matip

  • Jurgen Klopp isn’t the only key figure leaving following the 2023-24 season.  
  • Matip joined on for free and more than earned his place. 
  • An overlooked but key piece to the Klopp Era

Of course, the farewell to legendary manager Jürgen Klopp has rightfully been the focus as Liverpool's season wound down, but he's not the only important Red who has spent his last day at Anfield.

Amidst all of the fanfare for the departing gaffer, it was announced that centre-back Joël Matip is also leaving the club over the summer. It's not clear where he's headed next, but one thing is clear; he'll be sorely missed.

Matip has been with Liverpool since 2016, when he came over from Schalke 04, the only other European club for which he's made a senior appearance.

His youth breakthrough in Europe came with SC Weitmar 45, before moving over to VfL Bochum and then eventually Schalke.

Although he was born in Germany, as his youth experience indicates, he has represented the Cameroon National Team, even scoring in a World Cup match.

Of course, his Liverpool efforts are the real focus of the occasion, and they were truly admirable. Right away, Matip was a consistent contributor for the squad, after joining as an early addition of the Klopp Era on a free transfer.

Most notably, he was a huge part of the historic 2018-19 season, as he was a consistent presence in the wire-to-wire title race, and of course started the successful Champions League Final, in which Liverpool earned the first trophy of the Klopp era.

That season, Matip was named the PFA Player of the Month for September, the only such honor of his tenure. He was also named to the CAF team of the year.

Unfortunately, he dealt with too many injuries to fully contribute to the historic 2019-20 Premier League title, but became a champion of England nonetheless.

Matip's injury troubles continued into the 2020-21 campaign, part of the reason Liverpool struggled that year, but he was back in form the following season, as he scored a magnificent and iconic goal in a thrashing of Leeds, en route to Premier League Player of the Month for February 2022, a different award than the PFA honor.

Sadly, yet naturally, all things must come to an end, and Matip's tenure with Liverpool did so in the cruelest way- an ACL tear in December. That ended his season, and as we learned recently, his Liverpool career.

Whatever coms next for Joël, his contributions to Klopp's Liverpool and it's most legendary XI will always be remembered most fondly.

You can't attack as aggressively as Klopp did without a strong defensive foundation, and Matip was part of exactly that alongside Virgil van Dijk.

He's probably leaving at the right time, as it's hard to see how he fits into the club's next era, but one thing's for sure- he was a key part of the last one, and Liverpool FC is all the better for having had him wear the Red.

Here's to you Joël, and your next steps- best of luck in whatever you pursue, and we all hope you'll tackle it with the gusto with which you approached marauding runs into the opponent's box.