Liverpool: Jamie Carragher WRONG to claim Joel Matip has been better than Virgil van Dijk

It was of little shock to see Jamie Carragher lavishing wealthy reward on Liverpool defender Joel Matip – and he was right to do exactly that. After all, Matip has loved an outstanding season and been ever current for his membership.

His reward was the previous Anfield stalwart claiming that he has been better than Virgil van Dijk this season, a stunning claim certainly however not one wholly with out benefit. Together, they’ve fashioned a formidable partnership.

Ever current throughout this marketing campaign, Matip has featured in all however one Premier League sport. In every of these, the towering centre again has been his typical Rolls-Royce-like self, hoovering up free balls and hurtling into tackles.

Jamie Carragher stated Joel Matip (left) has been performing better than Virgil van Dijk (proper)

Former Liverpool defender Carragher has hailed stalwart Matip as ‘high class’ and ‘improbable’

The finish result’s a Liverpool facet who’ve conceded six targets within the top-flight up to now, a document crushed by simply three different golf equipment. It is a distinction to final time period, when accidents ripped Jurgen Klopp’s backline aside for months on finish.

So, with their stability again and a title cost in full swing, it’s no surprise that Matip and Van Dijk are making the headlines once more. The solely shock, nevertheless, is that of the 2, it’s the former who has impressed some probably the most. 

Carragher, for instance, hailed Matip as ‘high class’ and ‘improbable’. Van Dijk himself has additionally reserved explicit reward for the person in purple sometimes alongside him, calling him a ‘particular character’ and an ‘unbelievable defender’ to boot.

Matip has been essential below Jurgen Klopp (proper) and helped Liverpool of their title problem

But what do the numbers reveal concerning the duo, and which of the fashionable defenders comes out on high? It is essential to keep in mind that Van Dijk has performed an additional sport, however all of the essential statistics level in direction of him performing better.

He leads the best way with yet another clear sheet, with 5 to Matip’s 4, and each males have been on the again when conceding six targets. From this level, although, Van Dijk takes management, managing extra duels, blocks and clearances. 

In the duels division, Van Dijk has made only one extra, 56 to a really respectable 55. Again, Matip could have come out on high right here if he had performed the additional sport. The latter has a better duel success share, with 65.5 per cent to his identify.

Matip has additionally made extra tackles, maybe partly due to how Liverpool line-up structurally. Van Dijk typically finds himself because the final port of name, which means that, sometimes, he will likely be compelled to make much less challenges throughout matches.

As revealed by, Matip has loved a formidable season, with 4 clear sheets

Meanwhile, it’s Holland worldwide Van Dijk who has extra blocks to his identify, with 5 to 4, and extra clearances, having managed 30 to Matip’s 16. In brief, the uncooked numbers wanted to be a superb defender are shut, however Van Dijk shades it.

Another key side to Liverpool’s eye-catching model of play is how every participant in Klopp’s facet makes use of the ball. In each position, there have to be a fluidity in possession, and a confidence to transfer sharply and play via the traces with precision.

Luckily, each Matip and Van Dijk are adept at this. There is not any noticeable drop off when both, or each, of the membership’s first-choice defenders usually are not out there, such is the skilled teaching supplied up by Klopp. This was seen in massive chunks final season.

But on this marketing campaign, it’s Van Dijk once more who takes the crown. With 590 passes to 552, he has been in a position to play out to his team-mates on extra events, and it’s this silky confidence that helps the entire staff to tear their opponents aside.  

Matip’s numbers are bettered than Van Dijk’s, however the latter (R) has additionally performed one sport extra

PREMIER LEAGUE 21/22 Joel Matip Virgil van Dijk 
Games performed 7
Clean sheets  5 
Goals conceded 
Duels  55  56 
Duel success (%) 65.5  64.3 
Clearances  16  30 
Passes  552  590 
All stats courtesy of Opta     

Intriguingly, Carragher’s phrases on Matip and Van Dijk got here with a comparability to Manchester United’s major centre halves, specifically Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane. In his mixed XI, in actual fact, Matip edges forward of United captain Maguire. 

As two complete models, pairing Liverpool and United’s backlines collectively makes for attention-grabbing studying. Currently, their fortunes could not be any extra contrasting. Klopp’s males are flying excessive close to the highest, whereas United are within the midst of a poor run.

Is this a mirrored image of their stability in defence, or maybe a bigger challenge? Well, the numbers present that each models are effectively drilled and have carried out effectively, though United’s first-choice centre backs have performed collectively for one sport much less.

Van Dijk and Matip, as defined earlier, have began seven video games collectively – and completed every of them. As for United, Maguire and Varane have performed six video games in tandem, though the latter picked up an damage throughout the worldwide break.

The partnership between Matip (above) and Van Dijk has helped Liverpool push for trophies

PREMIER LEAGUE 21/22   Liverpool (Matip/Van Dijk) United (Maguire/Varane) 
Games began   7 6
Clean sheets    4 
Goals conceded    5 
Duels    111 79
Tackles    16  12
Blocks    10  9
Clearances    46  46
Poss received remaining third     48  43
Dribbled previous by opp     1  7
Errors main to targets     0  1
Fouls conceded     3  5
Successful passes      1,029 621 
Stats taken from gamers individually and mixed      

For clear sheets, it’s Liverpool who prepared the ground with 4. A shaky United have struggled to document shutouts this time period, and because of this have only one. This was picked up of their victory at Wolves, though the hosts missed a number of clear possibilities.

Interestingly, Liverpool have been compelled to have interaction in additional duels, however have largely been profitable. They have received 111 in complete whereas additionally holding a better defensive document, and their counterparts at United have 79 to their identify mixed.

For tackles and blocks, these within the purple of Merseyside triumph once more. They have 16 and 10 respectively, additional pointing in direction of their stalwart-like nature on the again. Maguire and Varane, in the meantime, have 12 and 9, albeit with much less minutes.

United and Liverpool are locked on precisely 46 clearances when their first-choice centre backs are fielded. This could level in direction of each groups, regardless of their differing statistics, being compelled to scramble again extra than they want. 

Liverpool’s first-choice pairing at centre again even have the beating of Manchester United’s

Klopp’s two gamers have received again the ball extra occasions than United of their remaining third, having robbed possession on 48 events. United, contrastingly, have performed the identical 43 occasions – though Liverpool press extra aggressively from defence.

The one statistic that will make Maguire and Varane wince is the quantity of occasions they’ve been dribbled previous by an opponent. Matip and Van Dijk have been subjected to this simply as soon as, whereas at United, it has occurred seven occasions.

In phrases of errors main to targets, each pairings have tried their finest to keep away from committing any, though United have stumbled as soon as. Liverpool, maintaining their largely pristine document, haven’t failed, nevertheless, in seven fixtures.

Matip and Van Dijk have conceded three fouls up to now, whereas Maguire and Varane are responsible of 5 in one other slight blemish to their season. Finally, Liverpool’s duo have made 1,029 passes, whereas United’s have 621 – once more displaying their completely different types. 

Raphael Varane has impressed at United however Harry Maguire (R) has struggled because the Euros

Another space of Carragher’s comparability price delving into is his desire for Matip over Maguire. It would have been simple for the pundit to facet along with his favorite membership merely because of his iconic standing there, however the numbers present he’s proper. 

Again, all the key attributes wanted by a superb defender have been examined, and Matip has come out on high in 5 of the areas. The state of the 2 golf equipment’ kind have to be taken into consideration, although, in addition to the play types of United and Liverpool.

Matip has engaged in 55 duels, whereas Maguire is on 48. Both have made eight tackles apiece, and it’s the latter who reigns supreme for blocks, with the United captain making eight. His defensively-sound opponent has 4 to his identify, in the meantime.

The numbers additionally reveal that Matip edges Maguire when it comes to the important thing statistics for defenders

PREMIER LEAGUE 21/22 Joel Matip Harry Maguire
Duels 55  48
Tackles  8  8
Blocks   8
Clearances   16  28
Poss received defensive third  22 28 
Dribbled previous by opp 
Errors main to targets  0 
Fouls conceded 
Successful passes  497   318

It is Maguire who has received again possession in his personal third extra occasions, too, with 28 to 22 – however probably the most essential statistics has not gone his manner. He has made one error main to a aim, whereas Matip has not dedicated any up to now this marketing campaign.

Rounding off the comparability, Matip has made much less fouls, along with his two up in opposition to Maguire’s 4, and likewise accomplished probably the most passes, 497 to 318. This will please his supervisor, whose facet are famend for his or her potential to preserve the ball in tight areas. 

This weekend, United journey to the fiery Anfield cauldron as they bid to return to kind within the league and ease the strain on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Varane is anticipated to miss out, nevertheless, however the defenders in motion could take centre stage once more.

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