Joel Matip has heaped praise on Liverpool January signing Virgil van Dijk, claiming that the Dutchman is 'a complete defender', who can help resolve the Reds' problems at the back. The 26-year-old had a dream start to his career at Anfield, scoring the winner in their 2-1 win over Everton in the third round of the FA Cup.
The Reds completed a world record deal for Van Dijk from Southampton in January in a bid to strengthen themselves at the back after struggling to strike a balance between attack and defence. The former Celtic man has since gone a long way in alleviating their problems at the back, despite giving away a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham last weekend.
Matip is convinced that his addition has made Liverpool better and that his physicality and ability on the ball makes him the perfect match for a Jurgen Klopp side which thrives on their attacking prowess. He is also well spoken and a team man whose addition means that even if a few players are unavailable at the back, there will be no drop in quality.
"He is a great person. We can laugh together – he is good for the team and with his quality he will help the team. We now have more players at centre-back, so we can change if somebody is not in the best shape and there is no loss of quality," Matip said, as quoted by Goal.
"He will help the team, he has done it from the beginning. He is a complete defender. Maybe in a few moments he is more physical, but he is a complete defender, of course, who can help us in every situation."
Van Dijk's next outing is set to see him reunited with former club Southampton, in what is expected to be a crunch clash at the St.Mary's and one Liverpool cannot afford to drop points in. The Reds are currently fourth, but the battle for Champions League spots is intensifying with six sides still in the mix.
"There are a lot of really good teams in this league, everybody knew it before. They have a lot of quality. But we don't have to hide. We're doing our job and looking forward. We're confident we'll do a good job in the league," Matip added.
"Southampton are not in the best shape at the moment but it will be a hard and tough fight. We have to go 100 per cent to get something. We have a good feeling, we have enough self-confidence and we are looking forward to the game.
"We have to always stay concentrated. We have enough quality to be in front after 90 minutes."