Jurgen Klopp has lauded Joel Matip’s performance in Liverpool’s victory over West Ham United after the defender got the better of forward Michail Antonio.
The Jamaican international made headlines this week on his BBC podcast after insisting that David Moyes’ side would have the better of Liverpool at Anfield and finish above the Reds this season. However, such words came back to bite him as the home crowd him jeered him both when he sent an early header wide and when he was substituted in the 74th minute.
Despite only beating Liverpool three times as a player, he had scored five goals from his previous 13 meetings with Klopp’s side before Sunday's match.
Klopp would play down Antonio’s early miss, putting it down to windy conditions - but he was delighted with how Matip kept the forward quiet after his own surprise inclusion in the starting XI.
VERDICT: What embarrassed Michail Antonio refused to do after Liverpool beat West Ham
RATINGS: Liverpool player ratings as Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez dominate
“It feels really good because before the game, it was clear, we play Thursday, West Ham as well, and you arrive here, really tricky opponent,” Klopp told reporters after the final whistle. “And then on top of that, with the first whistle the wind starts. I didn’t remember before the game that it was windy, then we get out.
“You saw it this time with the big chance of Antonio, the header he missed. I’m pretty sure if the wind is not there, that is even more dangerous.
“Makes it very often a 50-50 situation in these moments. You have to get the ball down on the ground, keep playing, try again, learn from the game, use the formation as much as you can and then defend with all that you have and that’s what we did.
"JoelRead on liverpoolecho.co.uk