Garth Crooks singled out Liverpool centre-half, Joel Matip, to appear in his team of the week column.
The commentator suggested the Cameroonian’s latest performance against Brighton and Hove Albion had convinced him to select the 30-year-old over his ‘outstanding’ partner in the backline, Virgil van Dijk.
“It’s not often Joel Matip makes my team of the week largely due to his team-mate Virgil van Dijk’s outstanding performances,” the 64-year-old wrote for BBC Sport.
“But on this occasion I was compelled to select the former Cameroon international.
“It started with the ball he played for Luis Diaz to run onto and score his second goal for Liverpool since his arrival. The ball was magnificent.
“The rest of the defender’s performance was consistently high.”
The former Schalke man played a sumptuous overhead ball into the path of Luis Diaz, with the Liverpool attacker duly converting the opportunity for the Reds’ opener before being clattered by Robert Sanchez.
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Matip is ongoing proof of the club’s attempt to build the threat potential from all areas of the pitch, with the defender producing the kind of long-range pass that our No.4 would have been proud of.
Whether it’s via the marauding runs of our fullbacks or the crossfield balls played by our Dutchman in the heart of the back four, it’s quite remarkable the level of attacking contributions provided by our defence alone.
As we seek to close in on league leaders Manchester City, such marginal gains could prove to be the difference between achieving our hopes of major silverware this term or not.
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