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REPORT: Jürgen Klopp should consider wildcard Liverpool switch that Ibrahima Konaté return can unlock

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp could repurpose one of Liverpool’s defensive stalwarts, and in the process give himself a midfield alternative that would be unexpected.


It was a familiar run from Joël Matip, those long legs striding deep into the heart of Manchester City territory. In the Carabao Cup round of 16 clash between the two sides, Matip was instrumental in Liverpool’s equaliser.


The Cameroonian went on one of his trademark gallops into the opposition half, before playing a wonderfully threaded pass into the feet of James Milner inside the penalty area, who in turn squared it to Fabio Carvalho to angle a shot into the back of the Manchester City net.


It was another illustration of how good Matip is with the ball at his feet, and it could give Jürgen Klopp an ace up his sleeve.


With Liverpool struggling for bodies in midfield at times, there is the argument to be made that Matip could be utilised further forward, perhaps played at the base of midfield when Fabinho is absent. Of course, Matip would interpret the role differently than the Brazilian, but he would also add something extra, like those deep forays into enemy territory that Fabinho very rarely does.


Matip has previous playing as a defensive midfielder. During his time at Schalke in the earlier part of his career, Matip was fielded in midfield. It was only when he arrived at Liverpool that he was pushed further back into defence, where he excelled under Klopp.


However, pushing Matip back into his former role is dependent on Ibrahima Konaté returning to partner Virgil van Dijk. The Frenchman, who starred for France at the World Cup in Qatar, was injured for a period at the beginning of the season, and only regain full fitness going into the World Cup.


Joe Gomez is fit and could play alongside Van Dijk, but his form has been so up and down over the past year. Klopp shouldn’t adopt this approach with the England international.


In the second half of the season, a fully fit Konaté could partner Van Dijk at the heart of the defence, allowing Matip to be pushed into midfield. Of course, this wouldn’t be a regular measure, only a stop-gap solution when several of Klopp’s first-choice midfielders were absent (which is the case far more frequently than is ideal).


Matip’s runs into the final third of the opposition’s half would give opponents something new to think about, a new challenge and add some unpredictability to Liverpool’s game, which is never a bad thing.


Naturally, it’s doubtful that we’ll ever see such a concept, but the idea isn’t as ludicrous as it sounds, and that latest foray forwards, this time against Manchester City, proved it.




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