Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images

Jamie Carragher has claimed that Joel Matip ‘likes to come out with the ball’ for Liverpool and he provides something that ‘Virgil van Dijk doesn’t’, as he told CBS Sports on Paramount+ (15/09/21 at 7:50 pm).

On Wednesday night, Jurgen Klopp opted to drop Van Dijk to the bench during Liverpool’s 3-2 win against AC Milan in the Champions League.

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Liverpool’s main man at the back earned a rest, as Matip, 30, partnered Joe Gomez at the heart of the club’s defence for their opening game of the new European season.

When it comes to Premier League football, it seems as though Matip and Van Dijk are going to be the main men at the back – with Gomez and Ibrahima Konate as the back-ups.

Both Van Dijk and Matip have some serious amounts of quality between them and Carragher even suggested that they are perhaps the best pairing in Europe.

“We thought he (Matip) may miss out (v AC Milan) because he has had injury problems in the past also,” said Carragher.

“But him and Van Dijk have provided a partnership for Liverpool this season, as good as anything in the Premier League or the Champions League, you would say.

“Matip’s added something that maybe Van Dijk doesn’t in that Virgil van Dijk plays great passes, from a standing position. But Joel Matip likes to come out with the ball and actually beat people.

“When he actually steps into midfield and looks for openings. And this (run) actually opens the scoring at Leeds in that impressive performance. But that comes from a centre-back actually stepping out in that position.”

Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Liverpool may not be talked about like many of their rivals in England and in Europe, but that scenario makes them even more dangerous.

They didn’t sign that superstar players like Manchester United, PSG, Chelsea or Manchester City did this summer.

Those sides may have better depth in quality than those on Merseyside, even the most ardent of Liverpool supporters wouldn’t disagree with that.

But when it comes to the strongest starting XI, pound for pound, Liverpool still have one of the best around.

Van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Fabinho could walk into any if not every team in Europe, not forgetting someone like Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

In other news, Antonio Conte has called 20-year-old Tottenham defender into first-team training