Continuing the feelgood factor following a thumping 6-0 demolition of Championship-bound Aston Villa, Liverpool announced their second permanent signing of the Jurgen Klopp era on 15 February. After weeks of rumours regarding his future, it was finally confirmed that Joel Matip will follow Marko Grujic and complete a move to Anfield on a free transfer when his current contract with Schalke expires during the summer.
Such a switch will bring to an end the Cameroon international's 16-year association with Die Königsblauen, the club with whom he rose through the youth ranks before making more than 200 senior appearances and winning both the DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Supercup back in 2011.
So what can Liverpool expect to see from their new signing once he arrives the 2016-17 campaign? IBTimes UK enlisted the help of the chairman of Schalke's fan cub in the UK, Chris Wißing, to find out.
"Matip is a defensive player and he played his best games for Schalke as a defensive midfielder," he said of the versatile 24-year-old. "He is very good with his head and is really fast. But he is not the best player to open a game to the offence."
Part of Liverpool's motivation for securing the services of another defender is due to the injury woes that have plagued their current centre-backs over recent months, leading to Klopp signing Steven Caulker on loan from Queens Park Rangers as a short-term measure. Martin Skrtel has yet to return from a hamstring problem suffered at Watford in December, while Dejan Lovren sustained a similar issue before limping off against Sunderland earlier this month with a muscular injury.
Mamadou Sakho has previously struggled with knee ligament damage, a sorry situation that briefly left the experienced but frequently erratic Kolo Toure as Liverpool's only fit senior centre-back. Midfielder Lucas, the unproven Tiago Ilori and even full-back outcast Jose Enrique have all featured in the centre during domestic cup outings, so will Matip be an improvement on what Klopp already has?
"I saw Liverpool at Villa Park [where Sakho partnered Toure at centre-back] and I would say Matip is a very good central defender, much better than the players I saw yesterday," Wißing, who believes the player will add a little more speed to the backline on Merseyside, continued. "He's very athletic and very fast."
When asked to recount Matip's greatest moments at Veltins-Arena, he added: "Of course his first Bundesliga game: he scored for Schalke in Munich. He has had his best games during the last one or two years. Before that, he also had hard times because he was not hard enough with his tackling. That's why he got some criticism in the early years."
Schalke were eager to retain the services of Matip, as evidenced by talks over a new contract that lasted quite some time before general manager Horst Heldt admitted that the club was unable to influence his decision. His standing with supporters was not always quite so high, however, although Wißing admits that he has grown in popularity over recent years and will be missed.
"As I said, he was never the beloved son for Schalke supporters in the early years. But sympathy has grown immensely in the last two years when he was playing as a central defender for most of the time. He will be sorely missed and we are sorry to see him go.
"The club made some very good offers to sign a new contract but he wants to move on in life and really wants to play in England. There was no chance for Schalke. And of course Schalke could never pay him like Liverpool can, although I honestly think that money is not the main reason for him to leave."