Liverpool could part ways with £16m rated centre-back in summer after poor form

Could this be Joel Matip’s final season at Anfield?

Joel Matip has slipped down the pecking order at Anfield and could be playing his final season for Liverpool as the club plan for a summer rebuild.

The 31-year-old has been thrust into action due to a series of injuries to his defensive colleagues and has come under scrutiny during the Reds’ current poor run of form, which has seen them win just once in eight games.

That criticism was compounded by an early own-goal at the weekend in the 3-0 loss away at Wolves, as Matip inadvertently turned into his own net in the fifth minute.

The centre-back has around 18 months left on his current deal and if Liverpool do want to cash in on the player, it will have to be this summer. He signed on a free from Schalke in 2016 and has been a key player at the back during Liverpool’s period of success under Jurgen Klopp, but after 181 games for the Reds, his time may be coming to an end.

According to Football Insider, Liverpool are willing to listen to offers for Matip in the summer as they look to rebuild. His consistent injuries have been an issue, especially with the likes of Ibrahim Konate and Joe Gomez also prone to injuries. His £16m value suggests a low fee would be needed to secure the highly experienced defender.

Matip has played the third most minutes out of their centre-backs, as Liverpool have had to balance injury issues with Virgil Van Dijk and Konate this season so far.

Although, it must be said that Liverpool’s midfield has been extremely poor this term, often leaving the defence exposed with Matip not being the only one to struggle under the weight of a poor collective performance.

Liverpool’s high-line, which was once the exemplary unit in European football, is now being targeted by opposition teams and Matip, among others, has struggled.

Of course, his importance in build-up play can’t be understated; many a game sees the towering defender carry the ball forward far into the opposition’s half, and his stats show someone who is always looking to fire the ball between the lines to help his side create opportunities. But with defensive struggles continuing and Nathaniel Phillips waiting on the bench, many believe it’s time for a change.

Fans are evidently demanding midfield signings, but the club may have a decision to make on Matip come the summer.