Official: Fan favourite Joel Matip will LEAVE Liverpool this summer

Liverpool have officially announced that Joel Matip will leave the club this summer following eight years of remarkable service.

The centre-back joined Liverpool in 2016 on a free transfer from Schalke and would go on to become a cult hero, lifting the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup during his stay on Merseyside.

The 32-year-old is out of contract this summer and Liverpool have decided against renewing his deal - although Jurgen Klopp reportedly would have triggered an extension.

There are bound to be plenty of suitors for the talented defender, who had been in great form for the Reds up until his season-ending ACL injury against Fulham in early December.

While fans have known for some time that Matip was unlikely to stay on next season, Liverpool's official announcement has come with an excellent tribute to the lovable centre-back.

JOEL MATIP WILL LEAVE LIVERPOOL

The club announced the decision on their official website on Friday morning, writing: "Joel Matip will bid farewell to Liverpool FC this summer after an eight-season spell during which he helped the club to some of its most memorable modern moments.

"The 32-year-old is set to embark on a new chapter in his career upon the expiry of his contract with the Reds at the end of the campaign, departing Anfield having lifted many of the game’s greatest honours.

"There were 201 appearances, 11 goals, seven winner’s medals – including Champions League and Premier League success – and countless mazy dribbles out from defence."

Jurgen Klopp also paid tribute to one of his first Liverpool signings and a player he often relied on to be a rock at the heart of the defence.

"In all the years that I have been involved in football, I am not sure I have come across too many players who are more loved than Joel Matip. I’m not even sure it would be possible to say anything bad about him," said Klopp.

"A wonderful professional, a wonderful footballer and a wonderful human being – we have been blessed to have him with us for as long as we have and now all we can do is wish him well as he heads off in a new direction."

Speaking about his own time at Liverpool, Matip wished to thank the club and fans for all they offered him.

"It has been eight wonderful years here in Liverpool," said Matip. "I was allowed to be part of an exciting history with a great coach and an astonishing team in an extraordinary club. We have achieved great titles and have the best fans in the world.

"I am full of gratitude for the wonderful time I was able to experience with these unique people supporting the club and the fans who love Liverpool FC.

"My wife and I have felt welcomed and supported from day one and together with the kids we had the best imaginable time here. We will always keep it in special memories."

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