Liverpool defender Joel Matip has revealed that his desire to become better by playing against top quality strikers in the Premier League convinced him to join the Reds. He was Jurgen Klopp's first summer signing after he signed a pre-contract agreement to move to Anfield in February.
The 24-year-old was part of the Merseyside club's victories over Tranmere Rovers and Fleetwood Town in two pre-season fixtures. Once the 2016/17 season kicks in, the former Schalke man will be playing against quality strikers and the list includes Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa, Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane, who have all been prolific in the Premier League.
"That's why I came here - I want to play against the best to become better. That was my thinking and my choice and I'm really looking forward to it," Matip was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo.
"There's pressure but I want that – it's the reason why I came here. I think I am good enough and I'll show this. Leadership is something I will have to grow into but I am also sure I have the ability for that position and from the way I approach the game.
"My plus points? I am very good under high balls, especially at corners and set-pieces. The Premier League is much more physical and I will have to adapt a little bit because the style of play is a little different. But I have enough self confidence to say that I am good enough for it."
Matip spent 16 years at the Bundesliga outfit and ended his association with Schalke after the end of the 2015/16 season. He left the German club as a free agent and admitted that it was a difficult decision to leave his former employers.
However, his boyhood dream of playing for Liverpool convinced him to leave Schalke and join Klopp at Anfield. Matip also revealed that an opportunity to play for the Reds saw him turn down a chance to continue with Schalke.
"I had 16 years at Schalke. It was my hometown club, I grew up there my whole life and it was a big decision to leave. It wasn't easy to leave there. But it was an easy decision to decide to join Liverpool," he added.
"When I was a child I wanted to play in the Premier League and Liverpool was a great and famous club that everybody knows so it was a great honour to be playing for them
"It was an easy decision and I am happy with it. I had a decision to stay at Schalke or go out in to the world and I am happy with the decision I made."