Joel Matip believes you could be forgiven for thinking Andy Robertson had plenty of previous experience operating at left-back for Liverpool judging by his excellent display against Crystal Palace on Saturday – and insists the Scot deserves all the praise he's received.
The summer signing from Hull City marked his first competitive start for the Reds by turning in a highly polished performance in the 1-0 victory over the Eagles at Anfield.
In addition to performing his defensive duties astutely, Robertson was a constant attacking threat with his surges forward down the left and a series of testing centres into the Palace area.
And it left his defensive compatriot suitably impressed.
Matip told Liverpoolfc.com: “He played really good. His situations were really clear offensively and defensively, and you couldn’t tell that it was his first game. He really played like he had played there a long, long time.
“As a defence, we try to help every teammate, it’s not something special for when a new player comes in. You try to help every player, your teammates – but he did very well without needing much help.”
On the opposite side, Joe Gomez completed a satisfying 90 minutes at right-back on what was his first Premier League start since September 2015.
Matip added: “He also did really well. He did really good preparation, he has a lot of quality and he can play centre-back or right-back.
“He’s played really both positions really well – as he did on Saturday on the right. It was nice to see him getting minutes in the Premier League again.”
Together with the help of Ragnar Klavan, the trio combined with Simon Mignolet to keep Liverpool’s first clean sheet of 2017-18 at the third attempt.
Nevertheless, it was Liverpool’s fifth shut-out in their last six Premier League outings – the same number as they managed to keep in the previous 21 top-flight fixtures.
“It was not our best game, but a clean sheet and a win are the things we enjoy,” Matip reflected. “Of course, it was important to get the clean sheet. It was the first step, especially for the defence, and we hope that we get a lot more of them this season.
“We have increased our solidity, but there is a long way to go and a lot of hard work for us still to do. But we are on a good way.
“Everyone knows there is still some things we can do better, which we will try to do. It was a good feeling to play out the clean sheet.”
On a personal note, Matip’s selection against Palace meant he has played every minute of Liverpool’s three fixtures so far in this fledgling campaign.
The centre-back feels a solid, injury-free pre-season has provided him with the platform to build on an impressive first term at the club in his second year.
“It was really good for me to play and have this preparation without injuries to get a good fitness level,” explained the 26-year-old.
“But like every other player, we need some more games to get to a really good fitness level, but we’re on a good way. For me personally, it is good to have these games without injuries.
“Pre-season is the basis for everything. It gave me a good feeling for the games I played and the games I will play in the future.”