Photo: Joel Matip given warm Schalke send-off

Paisley Gateway

The 24-year-old will join Liverpool in the summer on a free transfer.

Joel Matip was given an emotional farewell by Schalke fans on the weekend as he prepares for a summer switch to Liverpool.

The 24-year-old, signed by Reds boss Jurgen Klopp in February, played his final home match for the Bundesliga outfit at the Veltins-Arena during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Augsburg.

But the centre-back is certainly heading for the Premier League on good terms with fans of the German club, who unfurled a banner which read: "For 16 years, everything given for Schalke - thank you Jimmy."

Indeed, Matip had been on Schalke's books since the age of nine so the defender will have appreciated those sentiments.

The Cameroon international, who will join the Merseyside giants on a Bosman upon the expiration of his Schalke contract, is Klopp's second signing at Liverpool, having already swooped for Marko Grujic in January.

His arrival will bolster a Liverpool backline which has, in truth, looked to have improved since Klopp - who replaced Brendan Rodgers in October - took charge.

Is there a more improved player in English football than Dejan Lovren, compared to his first season at Anfield? The Croat has looked exceptional since the German coach has come in, and he might well be Matip's first-choice centre-half partner next term.

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