Joel Matip on derby emotions, exciting times and feeling fine

InterviewJoel Matip on derby emotions, exciting times and feeling fine

By Chris Shaw


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Joel Matip has a deep understanding of derby matches – and knows just how important Liverpool’s clash with Everton is to supporters.

The centre-back was involved in another of world football’s most passionate derbies with previous club Schalke 04 against Borussia Dortmund in Germany.

Since joining the Reds in 2016, Matip can boast an unbeaten record versus the Blues, with the 4-1 victory at Goodison Park last December his third win in six contests.

Liverpool head into the 240th Merseyside derby this weekend on the back of a comprehensive win over Manchester United as they continue to compete for the Premier League, Champions League and Emirates FA Cup.

And Matip is determined to ensure it is the home fans who are smiling again when the final whistle is blown at Anfield on Sunday evening.

“I enjoyed really every game against them because you see how it means a lot to the people, to the Liverpool supporters here in the town,” the No.32 told

“Everywhere, you meet Everton [fans] and you know these kinds of talks. We can give our fans a big pleasure, a big favour if we win again.

“It’s a more emotional game but we have to concentrate on keeping on playing our game. Emotions can push but we should not be distracted by it.

“We have to keep on going and concentrate on the stuff we are doing, keep playing the way we play and just put more in.”

Inside Training: Reds prepare for Merseyside derby

We sat down with Matip at the AXA Training Centre ahead of Everton’s visit this weekend – read on for the rest of the interview…

On how complete a performance it was in the 4-0 victory against United…

We started really well, the first half we did a lot of good things. The second half didn’t start as planned but I think the whole game, against a quality side like United, is something nice to remember.

On Sadio Mane’s sensational assist for Mohamed Salah on Tuesday…

I still don’t know how he did it but it’s just an amazing pass. Nearly impossible to defend; you cannot really think of this ball. It just showed his quality one time more.

On whether his ability carrying the ball forward has become a greater weapon this season…

I try to do it and my teammates always help me with securing me and giving me options. If we get some opportunities out of this, I think it’s not too bad to also have this way of playing.

On Liverpool having 19 clean sheets in the Premier League and whether he keeps count…

Not exactly but it’s not too bad as a defender to keep a clean sheet, this is one step for a good win. We have to keep on going and this is the basis for being successful.

On the benefit of having experience of juggling a title challenge with competing for other trophies…

We have experience with it but nevertheless, we just concentrate on the next game – that’s how we did it the whole season and it worked out for us. We want to deliver and we have to deliver. We are in good shape so let’s just keep on going.

On whether he has ever been involved in a period like this in his career…

This is something special, to be at the end and still be there in every competition and be in range or in a good position. Exciting time.

On having made 37 appearances this season – the highest amount of his time with the club so far – and if he is feeling in top shape…

I’m really glad I could play the season without any big injuries. I just have to keep on going and hope I stay fit and still can help the team. Of course, I’m really happy every time I’m on the pitch and can wear the shirt.

On whether he is doing anything differently in his training programme to help boost his availability…

I think sometimes it’s the luck. We worked the whole time through, we adjusted always a few things and worked on a lot of things. But now I’m staying fit and hopefully it stays like this. Sometimes at the end you don’t know what the reason is but we have a lot of great staff in the medical team and they really take good care of me. Hopefully it stays like this. As you’re getting older you get a little bit of experience with these kinds of things and with your body maybe too, and this helps. You know when you maybe have to step down a little bit and when you can go.

Jürgen Klopp on Merseyside derby, enjoyment, expectations and more

Press conferenceJürgen Klopp on Merseyside derby, enjoyment, expectations and moreJürgen Klopp acknowledged the importance of Sunday's Merseyside derby for both teams during his pre-match press conference.

On facing Everton and form not coming into account in these games…

They have a lot of quality, a new coach and they will go for everything because for them it’s a big chance to make a big turnaround. For them it’s a big chance but we also know our chance and we have to knock them down.

On the impact the Anfield atmosphere can have for the team during the run-in…

We saw it last year when they were not there. Now, with the support, even if the game is getting quite tight or something they always can give us the extra push. They will help us through the whole season and we will need them. Without them, it will not go.



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