Injury-plagued Liverpool cult hero still struggling to find a new club

Former Liverpool defender Joel Matip is still no nearer to finding himself a new club after his contract at Anfield formally expired on 30 June.

Despite becoming something of a cult figure during his time on Merseyside, his departure at the end of last season marked a bitter end to his eight-year tenure with the Premier League club.

The Cameroonian became a key part of the side's defence as Jurgen Klopp led the Reds to Premier League and Champions League glory.

However, his Reds career was marred by a string of injuries that significantly limited his playing time, eventually resulting in him losing his place in the side to Ibrahima Konate, who joined from RB Leipzig in May 2021.

Matip lost 140 matches to injury

Matip joined Liverpool from German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in 2016 on a free transfer, a move that was doubly disappointing for the German club, as they lost a key player without any financial compensation.

Across his time at Anfield, Matip managed 201 appearances in all competitions, a figure that could have been much higher if not for his persistent injury woes.

Remarkably, he missed 140 matches due to various injuries, the most significant being a cruciate ligament rupture suffered during the Reds' 4-3 win over Fulham in December 2023, which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

The defender's injury history, particularly the latest one, was a major factor in Liverpool's decision not to renew his contract, leaving Matip at a crossroads in his career.

Van Dijk Matip

Tentative interest from the Bundesliga

As a 32-year-old free agent with a concerning injury record, Matip faces an uncertain future. There had been speculation about a potential return to Germany, but no concrete offers have materialised yet.

Matip's return to the Bundesliga could be an attractive option for several clubs, given his experience and defensive capabilities. The defender's height, strength and tactical awareness no doubt make him a valuable asset when fit.

However, his recent injury history, plus his salary of around six million euros annually at Liverpool, have been deterring potential suitors, especially top-tier teams wary of the risks associated with a player recovering from a severe injury like a cruciate ligament tear.

One team that has been linked is his former club, Schalke 04. However, financial constraints mean this is unlikely—even if he were to halve what he was on at Liverpool.

But as the transfer window progresses, if Matip can prove his fitness, the hope will be that some clubs might consider taking a chance on the veteran defender. Otherwise, a premature retirement might be the next course of action.

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